The web, the native and the hybrid: building the right mobile app for your needs

The web, the native and the hybrid: building the right mobile app for your needs

No matter what kind of mobile application you’re trying to create, the first question you’re going to answer is a simple one: which development path are you going to choose?

This question takes highest priority. It’s your task #1 on the list of things to do during the project development. It needs to be answered right away because your path will depend and be depended on for the rest of your application build.

There are three development paths to choose from: web, native and hybrid. Each one has pros and cons to using it, so you’re the one that has to pick the right one for your development project.

The idea might seem basic, but a choice like this can make or break a long-term project. An idea that initially seems as though it could be done “any way” might not be able to stand the test of time. Big companies know this too – just think about Facebook! If they had stayed a web application, their impact would not have been as strong.

Facebook in 2007. Imagine having to deal with this UI today!

That’s not to say that a web application can’t be a good thing. They are incredibly simple to put on the market and update – no need to get manual when you don’t need to go through an app store! They’re also less expensive from the beginning, but they can be tricky when being configured for various browsers.

Native mobile applications tend to be more expensive, but they get a lot of support from app stores and the whole app marketplace. This improves discoverability, so it can be beneficial when dealing with an application that needs to get users fast. Also, native applications are more difficult to program and require experienced developers, but also provide with the smoothest UX.

Similar to native applications are hybrid ones – they act like native (to an extent) , but they’re technically web apps. The main difference between native and hybrid is their ability to work on multiple platforms: something a hybrid app can do, but a native one can’t.

Although a hybrid app cannot provide the same level of quality that a native one can, it can come very close. That’s what frameworks are for – depending on your choice and level of expertise, the possibilities for improvement are endless.

So, to sum up, here’s what you need to know when deciding with development path top take with your mobile app:

  • Native and hybrid applications don’t necessarily need network access to be used once installed. A web application does
  • Third-party integrations are not available for web applications! If you need that for your app to work, skip right over the web app choice.
  • Web applications are quickest to launch. No process needed to get on the market.
  • For security, your best bet is a native app.
  • Web and hybrid applications can be made with a single codebase, unlike native apps.
  • Marketing-wise, a web application is least likely to create additional opportunities for mobile users. You need a native or hybrid app even if you just want to send push notifications – unless you use a PWA, which only works with Chrome.

So, now that you know your limitations and possibilities, you can get to developing. Your path is your own, so don’t be afraid to try things out for size. Good luck!

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