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What Are the Differences Between Native Apps, Web Apps and Hybrid Apps?

You have been working for weeks on the development of a new project, and the time has come to choose the type of app that will host your solution… You find yourself a bit lost when facing the choices that exist: native, web or hybrid app–which one is best? There is not one unique answer to this question and the best option will depend not only on your needs, but on the type of project you plan to design. 

NATIVE APPS

Native apps are the ones that we download from the App Store or Google Play. The first step is to know which operating system you want to refer to. Your choice will focus either on an iOS system developed by Apple or an Android system developed by Google.

Advantages:

  • Faster and more efficient: Native apps are faster and generate less bugs because all of the app’s pages are loaded in the app during installation.
  • Better user experience: The ergonomics of a native application are specially designed for a particular operating system (iOS or Android), which makes the user journey more fluid and interactive. This type of application also allows easier access to the functionalities of the mobile device (eg camera, music, GPS, etc.).
  • Doesn’t need internet connection to work 
  • Sends push notifications: this feature makes it easier to interact with your users and retain them over the long term.
  • Exposure to huge audiences through iOS and Android stores (installed on all users’ smartphones)

Limits:

  • Developing an app is expensive because the software needs to be created in different languages.
  • Many regulatory constraints: you need to obtain authorization from the Apps Store to distribute the application and perform updates, there may be imposed pricing conditions, etc.
  • There is no possible overlap between iOS and Android. Thus, a native iOS application will not be able to run on Android.

WEB APPS

You can access a web app through any web browser and device (laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc.). When it comes to mobile apps, the web app simply represents the mobile version of your website. It is another version of a website, still accessible through an URL, but is more interactive and responsive. Most of the web applications are developed using Javascript, CCS and HTLM5.

Advantages:

  • Developing a web application costs significantly less and is faster to build than a native or hybrid application.
  • It is accessible from any device
  • There is no need to download an app to access the website.

Limits:

  • An internet connection is required to access a web application.
  • The user experience is less optimized: only one version of the web application is created for all devices, so the user journey is not as intuitive from one device to another.
  • Some native features are not usable and performance is lower compared to native development.

HYBRID APPLICATION 

Hybrid apps are apps available on the App Store or on Google Play. This type of application combines features of native applications and web applications. When developing a hybrid application, the web pages from the website on a laptop will be adapted into an optimized web display (unlike native apps where we start from scratch).

Advantages:

  • Low cost of development and integration.
  • Easy and quick to develop: it is easier to develop new features on hybrid apps because, once integrated, they apply to all platforms at the same time. This is not the case with a native application.
  • Works on all devices and operating systems.

Limits:

  • Less possibilities in terms of design: Hybrid interfaces are simple and limited because they have to adapt to a large number of platforms and devices.
  • Performance below what native applications offer.

CONCLUSION

Now that you know more about the advantages and disadvantages of each application, ask yourself the right questions to guide you in your choice: what budget do you want to allocate to this project? What resources do you have internally to carry out this type of development? Do you want to develop a basic or more advanced application? Are you planning a lot of updates on your future app? …

If you are a bit pressed for time, we recommend you to opt for a hybrid or web app that favors simplicity and cost optimization. If, on the contrary, you wish to obtain a more stable, efficient and tailor-made application, we advise you to orient yourself towards native development. From a long-term perspective, a native approach will therefore be recommended to ensure an optimal user experience.

If you have any questions or need resources to complete this project, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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