Native App Vs Web App: Perhaps A Hybrid?

Hybrid mobile applications are functionally somewhere between native apps and web apps. As these two types of mobile software serve completely different purposes, standing poles apart, hybrid apps fill the space between them, and incorporate features of both sides. What makes them close to native apps, is their ability to utilize native features of a mobile platform. Hybrid apps are distributed through application stores, and may utilize such native feature as, for example, geolocation. On the other hand, it shares many useful features with web apps. It might be so that if you want to build an application, a hybrid one would be the best solution for you.

Features of hybrid apps, shared with web apps:

– Created upon web technologies (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3). That’s the main distinction from native apps, which presuppose all the further features. The most popular tools for creating hybrid mobile software are PhoneGap and Appcelerator Titanium.

– Easier and faster to build than native apps. This results in lower development cost.

– Cross-platform capabilities. A great advantage, provided by web technologies – you may create the app once for various mobile platforms. But keep in mind, that an app may not run the same on various devices, that is why quality cross-platform software requires comprehensive testing on a list of devices chosen by you. That’s how the possible problems are eliminated before deployment.

– Lower performance than in native apps. That is why more sophisticated apps will be affected by slightly lower speed and graphics. Consider the balance of features and speed carefully – users are quite likely to switch to another app, if they face delays. That’s why hybrid applications are not good for creating complex apps like games.

Features of hybrid apps, shared with native apps:

– Distribution through application stores (such as Apple App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry World and Windows Phone Store).

– Use of native device capabilities. That is an inaccessible option for mobile web apps. In case your software is going to depend on geolocation, camera, accelerometer etc. – a hybrid application will provide you with that.

– Offline capabilities. That’s a feature of the foremost importance for many apps. And that matters much to users – having what they need and what they like anytime, anywhere.

You may consult with your software developers to find out whether a hybrid app is really ‘the golden mean’ that will perfectly fit your project. That must be discussed and firmly decided before the development. The decision depends on the user experience you need to provide, the features of the project, and the market/user audience you chose to encompass and engage into using the app. Business apps that require native access or apps with moderate graphics – these are examples of a good choice for hybrid development.