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A technical question arises before starting the development of every app: What is the best mobile app development platform to develop the app – native apps, web apps or hybrid apps? Answering this question is straight off the bat. And, there is no general suggestion as well – “the best approach is …” – because all the three platform options have its own pros and cons, which are affected by factors such as budget, target group and timing. And, it depends on what your application is offering, what is the expectation of the users and what are your core development strengths. Hence, choosing the right platform for developing an app can therefore pose a significant challenge. Before all other attempts to decide which platform suits best to your app, be sure to review Hybrid vs Native Mobile Applications: What is the way ahead? Part1, in which we looked at what is Native, Web and Hybrid Mobile Application. Let’s take a look on all the approaches, including their advantages and disadvantages:

Native Apps:

As the name signifies Native apps are “real” programs that run on a device at the operating system level. They, therefore need to be installed on a smartphone or tablet. They are based on a binary code which, once started, interacts directly with the underlying mobile operating system, such as iOS or Android. All APIs that a mobile system and its hardware have to offer can therefore be accessed. This generally gives the developer more options and easier access to the integrated sensors such as gyroscope, positioning, and much more. Moreover, the special features of a system can also be used more intensively. Another major factor that is needed to be considered at the time of native application development is – technical know-how of a development team. The level of experience must be higher as compared to other development scenarios. A professional developer must not depend on sold on proven API’s and frameworks, they must be capable of using relevant techniques, languages and frameworks that are needed to provide best mobile applications. However, inspite of its intricacy to develop the method and limitation of using it for the particular platforms, native applications still remains as one of the best known platforms chosen by the professional developers. Other commendable part of native application is that some features we can only get through native platform. Let’s discuss the pros & cons of native mobile applications (referred from codingsquare.blogspot.in):

Pros:

  • Native apps have the best performance and use the last available hardware resource to improve performance.
  • Applications work even at offline mode.
  • Provides better visibility to the prospective users by distributing the apps through platforms App store
  • Your application will have access to the latest API’s, releases on that platform.
  • The apps are built in languages the platform supports and so, has access to IDEs which provide :The apps are built in languages the platform supports and so, has access to IDEs which provide :
    • the best tools to develop,
    • iOS app can be built in objective C on XCode which has all the tools.
    • Linkedin is one example which shifted over to Native from HTML5 and there is Facebook too, which took a U-turn
      • to debug,
      • the best tools to develop,
      • debug the project fast.
      • design the interface,
      • and check the performance using Instruments etc.

Cons:

  • You need big budgets to support Native platforms as you’re needed to manage multiple teams.
  • App updates needs to be downloaded by users and so you end up maintain several versions of Apps on your web server if not properly designed.
  • Another major concern is – availability of developers for ramping up.

However we’ve discussed native apps from a development perspective, there’s also one more and very important perspective, and that is the end user. When we look for an app, we get it in the app store. When we start using the app, it fires up immediately. When we use the app, we get quick performance together with reliable platform look and feel. Not only this, if an app needs an update, it notifies us too. This proves that if we talk about end user perspective native apps give everything what we expect from the ideal platform.

HTML5 Apps:
Snazzy gadgets like tablets and smartphones now offer well-equipped web browsers, which offer a host of possibilities with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Unlike native apps in languages like C+, when development is limited to web technologies companies can often implement the mobile app with web developers and for that no special expertise is required in HTML5. App updates are also performed as usual – simply install them on the server and that’s it. Furthermore, this gives users up-to-date data straight away, without compelling them to maintain and install an update from an app store. Web apps are therefore particularly good for all scenarios that require apps to be extremely up to date and easy to maintain; for example, in real time during an event with an editorial system. Let’s discuss the pros & cons of HTML5 mobile applications (referred from codingsquare.blogspot.in):

Pros:

  • HTML5 mobile app is similar to a normal web app, except that they are designed to work at smaller screens.
  • The distribution of these apps is very easy. Just deploy the web app on your web server and users will access it from their browsers.
  • There are some very good mobile UI frameworks like JQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, mgwt which provides several widgets for mobile.
  • These apps can probably reach out all platforms since they run on browsers and all the modern smart phones have a browser.
  • The development and testing of these apps is easier as they are similar to normal web apps where you have tooling support.

Cons:

  • These apps don’t have access to the native functionality.
  • Performance doesn’t match with native apps.
  • HTML5 apps works in offline mode, but that doesn’t match what native apps offer.

Is Hybrid taking the lead??

Hybrid platform leverages the combination of portability among platforms of the HTML5 and accessibility in each and every feature of the native application. According to Gartner – by 2016 more than 50 % of the apps deployed will be Hybrid apps. One good example of hybrid platform can be seen in application framework like Phonegap. Through Phonegap, mobile applications can be developed and assembled in span of just few moments, even without using compilers, hardware and SDKs. It’s similar to developing an individual iOS app for Android, without even using xcode and Macintosh in very less time
Existing finest developers that are best known for optimizing JavaScript, approaching CSS to develop striking layouts, and writing biddable HTML code that runs on any platform can now build classy mobile applications without sacrificing the sophisticated native capabilities.

Native applications are installed on the device itself, while HTML5 applications dwell on a Web server, so you might be thinking if hybrid apps save their files on the device itself or on a server? Here’s your answer- There are two ways through which hybrid app can be implemented:

Local – One way is similar to the structure of native application- you can store HTML and JavaScript code in the mobile application binary. In this case you take REST APIs to shift data back and forth between the device and the cloud.
Server – Otherwise you can apply the full web application from the server, by simply using the container as a thin shell over the UIWebview. Let’s discuss the pros & cons of Hybrid mobile applications (referred from codingsquare.blogspot.in):

Pros:

  • Hybrid apps are faster to develop. Most of the development done is web technologies, which are cross platform and do very small amount of native coding, only when access to native layers is required. So only small portion of the code needs to be re-implemented for other platforms .This saves development time and cost and you can concentrate on developing new features rather than replicating the same features on each platform.
  • You are near to ‘Write Once, Run Anywhere’, the strategy that made Java such a dominant force.
  • The tools for building Hybrid apps are not mature enough when compared to their counterparts on native apps. The situation is changing rapidly and soon there can be some good tools which support development of cross platform Hybrid apps.
  • These applications can be deployed in platform specific app stores.
  • Hybrid apps provide good and bad of both native apps and HTML5 web apps.
  • They can access the native layers.
  • These apps can work in offline mode.
  • Netflix is one cool example which runs the same code base against all the devices.

Cons:

Hybrid apps, even though are packaged natively are not native apps. They execute on the platforms web engine, Webkit in case of Android and iOS which is another layer between the user and the application and so the performance can’t match the native apps.
Since Hybrid apps are normally built using standard web technologies, there will be huge pool of developers available for ramping up. This is not the case with native apps.
Mobile application development is thorny in today’s technologically advanced world with an arrival of new application in every three or four months. Apart from their own advantages, hybrid mobile apps are taking the lead from two.

 

 

 

 

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  1. […] perfectly articulates about Hybrid vs Native vs Web Mobile Applications and What is the way ahead? Mobile Application Development India| Mobile App Design and Development Company Reply With […]

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