What Separates A Native App From A Hybrid App? - MobileAppDaily
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What Separates A Native App From A Hybrid App?

Are you stuck between native and hybrid app? Scroll down.

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Due to the advancement in the tech, various kind of apps have made their way into the app industry and two of the top heavyweights are native and hybrid apps. The native app is the basic one whereas, hybrid one is the advanced version. Though the hybrid app has rightly followed the native app and has become a primary pick for many of the organizations. Let’s get to the basics and understand it better.

1. What Are Native Apps?

Native mobile apps are the most common type of programmed apps. These apps are developed for a particular platform and are written in languages that the platform is compatible with. These apps are also built using the specific Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for a certain software framework, hardware platform or operating system.

Companies like Apple and Google assist the developers with their own interface elements, development tools, and SDKs (Software Development Kit). Generally, companies prefer to invest in native mobile app development due to its vast pool of benefits in comparison to other types of apps.

Hybrid vs native

Skills Required:

  • Java or Kotlin on Android
  • Swift or Objective-C on iOS
  • Familiarity with native tools like Xcode or Android Studio
  • The right understanding of native architectures

Pros:

  • Full integration of device: Native apps come with numerous functionalities supported by the mobile devices. For example, camera, GPS, calendar and microphone. Native apps offer a rich experience to the user and impart some blissful exposure
  • Work offline too: The other notable feature of native apps is that these don’t require the internet connection to work. However, the functional features depend upon the nature of the apps.
  • Excellent performance: Native apps are outstanding in terms of performance. As these apps are designed for some specific operating systems and thus, not much complications are involved in their functioning.
  • Trendy look of native applications: The design of native apps is quite remarkable and allows users to adapt quickly to the icons and buttons.
  • Better UX standards: All the native apps follow a specific UX/UI standard for both the Android or iOS platforms. This lets the users comfortably understand the interface and navigation of the apps.
  • Completely safe: All the native apps developed for the Android and iOS platform are directly accessible through their respective app stores. These apps are fully tested by the app stores approval team before being added to the app list. Thus, it provides a type of certificate of reliability for the users.

Cons:

  • High development and maintenance cost: The development and maintenance cost of the native apps are multiplied due to the fact that it has a different codebase for each platform and to maintain them, which ultimately demands time and efforts from the developer’s end.
  • The acceptance guarantee is less: After developing the Native app, you are required to offer your app for testing by the respective app store’s testing team. The whole process takes a lot of time because of the involved testing complexities. And the downside of this is, there is no assurance that your app will get listed in the store.

Native Development Platforms:

  • Android (Java): Android is a mobile operating system developed by the tech giant, Google. The program is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software.
  • iOS (SDK, Swift, and Objective-C): iOS is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple. The OS is exclusive to Apple’s devices and powers many of the company's mobile devices.

Native App Security Threats:

  • Insecure local data storage
  • Weak SSL implementation
  • Unintended data leaks
  • Code Injection

2. What Are Hybrid Apps?

Hybrid apps are developed for use on multiple platforms like Android, iPhone and Windows mobile devices. Most hybrid apps are built using cross-compatible web technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and Javascript. The operating system is one field where hybrid app scores over native apps because hybrid apps are supported over multiple platforms and that too at minimal cost to develop and maintain. 

Such apps can simply run in a native browser. Hybrid app development is faster and its platform can be changed according to the requirement. The only downside of the hybrid app is that it drives behind the native browser and such browser are slow as compared to native apps.

Building a hybrid app is like packing an existing web page into a new shade. The other plus point of the hybrid app is that it allows developers and thus significantly reduces the development cost. In technical language, the same HTML code components are reused on different mobile operating systems. With tools like PhoneGap and Sencha Touch, the developer can design and code across platforms.

hybrid app

Skills required:

  • Front-end skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)
  • Understanding of native tools (Xcode, Android Studio)

Pros:

  • Combined development: After developing a hybrid app, you just have to tweak that app a little in order make it run on other platforms and by doing this, you can save hell lot of money and time. 
  • Only one codebase to deal with: A single codebase can come handy while preparing for multiple platforms and offers unified development. And for developing such a code, you require a handful of developers as compared to the development of the native apps.
  • Swift development: It is quite obvious that less time and efforts will be consumed to develop a single codebase. Hybrid apps are wholly flexible and require very less maintenance. Also, these apps are unchallenging to be transformed into some other platform.
  • Systematic scaling: These cross-platform apps are easy to scale on various platforms and different operating devices. It enables the developers to make use of the old code for framing it for some new application.
  • Offline support: Much like native apps, hybrid apps can run even while in the offline mode but, the work done during that time won’t be updated in the original file.
  • Cost effective: Hybrid app content is developed by using web technologies, which offers much of flexibility. Due to it, the development of hybrid apps is effortless and cost-effective.
  • The inclusion of interactive components: Though interactive components work best on native apps but, hybrid apps are not far away from it. With the introduction of new elements, hybrid apps are expected to perform better in 3D games and animation. However, hybrid apps are more suited for business professional services.

Cons:

  • Performance lag: Hybrid apps are based on the web technologies and mobile platforms like Kendo, Onsen, Ionic and Cordova. These platforms employ more time as compared to the app, which ultimately results in performance lag. It is one of the major flaws that come with the development of hybrid apps and does affect the user experience.
  • Unimpressive UX: The UX (User experience) is one thing that needs to be flawless. Sadly, hybrid apps are not sharp as one would want. No user has enough time to engage the app multiple times. Although, hybrid apps are fast catching up with the latest tech and innovation, and we expect it tackle this issue as soon as possible.

Hybrid Development Platforms

  • Cordova: Cordova is an open-source mobile app development framework. It allows you to use standard web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for cross-platform development.
  • Titanium: The Titanium SDK offers developers and designers an unparalleled ability to create quality native, mobile web or rich hybrid apps for all platforms from a single code base, using JavaScript.
  • Xamarin: Xamarin works on the same line as that of Cordova. It is a C#-shared codebase and can be used by developers to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps. Its code can be shared on multiple platforms focused on C#. 

Security Threats:

  • JavaScript Injection (due to use of JS and HTML)
  • Weak SSL implementation (same as native)
  • Caching issues

3. A Developer’s Perspective

How a professional developer apprehend the app is totally different from what you may see because of the simple fact that developers are more technically sound about the subject. If we talk about the hybrid app, the eventual look and feel of the app will vary due to its incarnation on the different platform. To put it simple words, if the code is developed for an Android platform and the same code is used for iOS app development, the chances are high that you won’t get the desired results in the final product. Moreover, if the app is developed for multiple platforms, you won’t have access to full functions of the native app. Whereas, all the function of a native app can be fully utilized. To manage this particular issue, companies like facebook, which is an ideal example of a hybrid app, write 60-70 percent common code and the for the UI, different code is created to bring the desired outlook.

Hybrid app development

In the end, it will be the components of a native app that will be embedded in the hybrid app and that makes the code of hybrid app more heavy as compared to the native app.

The catch over here is PWA (Progressive Web App). These types of app are the future of tech industry because of their advanced platform features. These are basically web apps that use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience to users. The bright side of PWA is that you don’t need to download the app on your device, and you can use all its functions even if you wish to work offline.

4. The Cost Involved In Hiring An App Developer

  • Native app: If you finalize on the native app, you have to build different apps for different platforms (iOS, Android, or Windows). Android is the better-known platform than the iOS and it does cost more to develop an Android app. According to a published article by Infinium, Android apps contains 40 percent more code and took 30 percent more time to develop. Hence, the cost factor will also swell. As per infographic, mobile developers in North America cost more than the one located in India or Eastern Europe.

native app

  • Hybrid app: These apps are built with PhoneGap or Cordova and built using HTML5 and JavaScript. For any hybrid app, the codebase is the same. Therefore unlike the native app, a developer would take less time to develop a hybrid app and this will ultimately lower the overall cost of the app development.

As per a report published by Upwork, the following is the average hourly rate charged by the mobile app developers.

App developer rate

5. The Time Taken To Develop The App

  • Native app: The time required to build an app is directly related to the complexity and the features of the app. Moreover, with the new suggestions and feedback, the total development time can take a hit. According to a report by Infographic, on an average, it takes about 18 weeks to develop a native app. To break it down further, ten weeks for the back-end and eight weeks for the front end. It is important to know that not all the apps require backend development. So, take it as only a reference for your future projects.
  • Hybrid app: Due to its single code, the hybrid app takes much less time, as compared to the native app. Usually, it takes ten to twelve weeks to develop an average hybrid app.

App development time

6. User Experience

Apps are designed to be yielded by the users and until you won’t be offering substantial experience, it will be really arduous for you to sustain. We all know how difficult is it to make your mark in the market and once you are there, you need to sustain yourself. The concept of user retention has tremendously evolved since the last decade. 

The user is always on the lookout to grab the best and if you lack somewhere, the user wouldn’t take much time to tick off your app from the device and will switch to some other. If you have any doubt on the same, check out the below figures on the consumers’ reaction to poor mobile app experiences.

consumer reaction

7. A Quick Comparison

  • In terms of development

hybrid vs native

  • In terms of features

app feature

8. What About Cross-Platform Apps?

Cross-Platform Mobile Development refers to the development of mobile apps that can be used on multiple mobile platforms. These are of two types, one as the Native cross-platform app and other as Hybrid HTML5 app.

  • Native cross-platform apps: Every operating system has its own SDK and major tech stack like Java for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS app development. But some app development tools, you can use the same codebase for both Android and iOS apps. These apps are primarily built with the help of Xamarin and Appcelerator Titanium.
  • Hybrid HTML5 apps: HTML5 is a markup language that is used to structure and present content on the World Wide Web. All the apps are developed for the use of mobile devices but it is the backend servers that take care of app logic. Webview is utilized to craft GUI (Graphical User Interface) with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. Currently, Apache Cordova is the best development framework to develop the hybrid app.

9. Do You Really Need A Hybrid App?

As of now, you must have understood that by deploying a hybrid app, you can extend your reach on multiple platforms but, one question arises here, Do you really need to be on multiple platforms at once? If you have any doubt, take your time and get back to this point. Weigh your priorities about time, effort, and finance because, in the end, nobody wants to repent on the past things. So, it’s better that you grasp the pros and cons of both native and hybrid app. It will help you come to the conclusion. Race the horses of your brain.

10. The Right Choice

To come to the final conclusion, it is very crucial that you fully understand the differences between the native and hybrid apps. Both these apps have their own ups and downs, but it all depends on your business needs and what kind of work you wants to employ through your app.

development platform choice

As of now, hybrid apps are more in use due to its easy availability approach, cost savings and compatibility with more technologies and platforms. Who would deny so many benefits of a single software? But, if you look at the long-term plans, hybrid apps does lack the punch that the native apps have. Due to its heavy coding, hybrid apps needs more time to fix any glitch that gets reported. Also, if the developer wants to add or subtract any element from the app, it will not turn out same on all the platforms.

On the other hand, the native app offers more rich experience and excel in terms of performance and with their seamless use of the platform’s built-in functions. But again, you would need higher investment during the initial stages of native app development. If we talk about plans, native apps help you save your time and money by offering a better user experience and following the platform and industry standards. App performance remains the top priority for any app company. Take a look.

take a look

Therefore, make up your mind and pick the app that aptly suits your needs and requirements, both in short and long-term plans.

Vikram Khajuria
Written By
Vikram Khajuria

A typical boy and tech enthusiast, Vikram is totally fascinated by the journey of his day from miseries to joys. Covering the journalism field, he writes at MobileAppDaily and keeps surfing the trends to understand tech and inventions better. Don’t forget his driving skills, he is a professional car rallyist. Life has just got better, breath it!!

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