Hybrid or Native?

Hybrid or Native?
Photo by Stephen Frank / Unsplash

Know the advantages and disadvantages of both types of mobile applications.

The Digital Transformation has reached all companies with force and many of them have decided to bet on the development of mobile applications. The use of mobile devices and their different applications has quadrupled in recent years, however, when we think about software development, doubts arise... What is better, a hybrid app or a native one? Today we will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each one so that you can draw your own conclusions.

Native Apps

Native app development is primarily focused on creating apps for Android, iOS, or Windows. Downloading these applications is only possible from their digital distribution platforms. For example, Google Play (for Android) and Apple App Store (for iOS). Most native apps are designed for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, although the app can also be designed for use on smart TVs, desktop computers, and other devices.

Native applications are the ideal option if you are looking for an offline app or one that can work without an Internet connection at certain times. In other words, these applications are perfect for those projects that can be integrated with their own wireless connection, be it Bluetooth or NFC, for example.

Obviously, unlike the development of applications in other programming languages foreign to the native of each platform, here we will have certain advantages and disadvantages depending on the platform that is chosen, let's see what some of them are:

1) Maximum performance on devices. By taking advantage of the benefits that a native programming language provides us, we will also be taking advantage of the fact of getting the most out of the devices that have that operating system. For example. If we are developing an application in Java for Android, we know all the functions that we can add to it so that they can be executed, since we know how Android devices are made and what the operating system allows us to do, causing our app to be fully optimized for any mobile. with that platform.

2) The user experience is increased. Everything is correlated, and making the most of the functions of a device will also help the user experience to increase considerably. Take into account that a native application can optimize the functionalities that the different operating systems offer, in this way, you will allow the user to have a more pleasant and simple way of browsing your app.

3) Apps available from the App Store. Of course, one of the rules or requirements for applications to be available from the corresponding app store is that they be native. Although those web apps that have a native layer and a web layer are also allowed, however, fully native applications of the programming language have greater visibility in the application store.

This was shot while waiting for cocktails in the Bombay Sapphire Distillery bar.
Photo by Rob Hampson / Unsplash

Although developing native applications can be very beneficial, there are also some disadvantages or inconveniences, which we will see below. Well, these red dots are also where you can grab to decide the type of mobile application you want to develop:

1) Different functionalities in each platform. We are going to put an example. You are developing a mobile application, however first you are going to create it to run on android devices. Here you will adapt the functions of your application to what the operating system allows and to the functions of each device on which it can be executed, because let's remember that there are mobile phones with more functions than others. However, the radical change will consist of when you want to develop the app on another platform, since on each platform there are different functions and modalities, which over time you will have to tackle.

2) A native app is more expensive. Obviously, the costs of a native app increase, the production in the event that you do not know how to do it and you have to pay someone to develop an application for you in one of the languages and platforms that we have just seen, are higher. This disadvantage does not affect people who are learning to develop in this type of mobile applications, however it is an important point to consider.

3) Personalized and exclusive code. This will possibly be the worst of the disadvantages that you can find when developing native mobile applications. Well, unfortunately, all the code that you generate and produce in the programming language that you choose from one of the platforms cannot be reusable to create it on another platform.

Hybrid Apps

Now let's move on to hybrid apps. In a few words, these are those that can be used on different operating systems, on smartphones or tablets. They are not, therefore, exclusive to a commercial brand or a specific device model: the framework with which they are designed is used for various gadgets.

The main advantage of the hybrid app is that with the same code we can deploy it on different devices and operating systems: iOS, Android and/or web. This feature makes them a cheaper option compared to a native app, in addition to the fact that the "time to market" is much shorter. Unlike native ones, hybrid apps adapt to any platform because they are developed with a responsive design pattern. That is, the web application is developed and it adapts to any device, regardless of its size or resolution. Let's see some other advantages:

1) Saving time and money. While native apps will need to be written for each operating system they are released on, hybrid apps have a unique build. The result is a saving of both time and financial resources involved in the development of multiple versions of the same application, since the version generated from a hybrid application will be valid for all devices, as long as it is programmed correctly.

2) Online and offline access. If you are considering having only a website, and not an application, you may be leaving out a target of your audience that will operate without an internet connection on some occasions. Developers have the option to package the hybrid app locally, or via a server. Thus, hybrid applications are accessible both online and offline.

3) Effective updates. After development, updates will be needed to keep apps running smoothly and to fix bugs that can negatively affect the user experience. Like the development process, updates will be effective for the application on all operating systems, resulting in a higher ROI for the update process.

Just like native apps, hybrid apps also have drawbacks; Let's see some:

1) Possible delay in development. Because a hybrid application runs on many different operating systems, it is possible that the complications caused by interacting with these different systems can lead to some delay in its development, compared to the time it takes to build other types of applications. . While this is not necessarily the case for all apps and depends on how it is programmed, developers will need to take potential lag into account when designing the app.

2) Variations caused by devices and operating systems. Falling behind is not the only effect that the wide variety of systems and devices could have on a hybrid application. The appearance of your application may vary from user to user, depending on the version of the software you are using and the type of device you use to view your application. As such, your app may not always look the way you want and you'll need to test it on a wide variety of possible operating systems and devices to optimize it for the widest possible audience. By doing so, you can create a layout that has fewer incompatible features or experiences known complications when displayed on certain operating systems.

After reading this entire article, tell us what you prefer; a native or hybrid app?

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