Native vs. Hybrid Applications: which to choose for your project

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Native vs. Hybrid Applications: which to choose for your project
12 . September . 2016

A big decision when the time comes to develop a mobile application is choosing the course to take in its development. To create a native application or a hybrid application? That is the question!

The basis for this differentiation is in the way the code is developed for the mobile application. Native applications are developed specifically for each platform (iOS, Android or Windows), based on the code particular to that operating system. Hybrid applications are apps developed with web technology, such as HTML5, CSS and Javascript, that utilize a feature of those systems called WebView to present the web code as a responsive application for any platform. Both present pros and cons, which is why it’s essential to be familiarized with both before making your decision.

Previously, we’ve already looked into the subject of native apps, presenting the advantages they possess. Now, we directly compared native and hybrid applications to help you make the right decision for your app.

Native applications vs. Hybrid applications

Factors

Native applications

Hybrid applications

Performance

Native applications are developed in code specific for each platform, which brings a boost performance-wise.

Hybrid applications apply layers of technology, such as WebViews and other plug-ins, over the native APIs, which has an impact in performance compared to native applications.

Development

As the code needs to be developed from scratch for each platform, native applications demand a bigger investment in development, both in time and money.

Using familiar web technologies such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript as a basis, hybrid applications are much more cost-effective and have the additional advantage of reusing the same code for various platforms.

Maintenance

By using platform-specific code and constrained by its specifications, maintenance is more complex, more expensive and more time-consuming, besides the fact that it demands that the maintenance of each version of each platform be managed individually.

By using web technology shared by various platforms, hybrid applications have easier and more accessible maintenance in regards to time and cost, especially in regards to multiplatform applications.
Updating to newer versions of operating systems might take longer, since the framework chosen for development needs time to adapt to new features and updates introduced in that new version.

Interface

Native applications benefit from UI functionalities of the operating systems without complications.

Hybrid applications need plug-ins or complex techniques to imitate native UI of operating systems.

Available resources

The resources available are platform-specific; however, they present the advantage of having native APIs for operating systems.

There is a great variety of resources available for hybrid applications, developed in various web technologies for greater accessibility and flexibility.

Plug-ins

The range of plug-ins for native applications is, in general, specific for each platform, making its integration for multiplatform apps more convoluted.

There are many plug-ins aimed at hybrid applications, with the advantage of having an effect in all platforms. However, hybrid applications are also largely dependent on plug-ins to function on the level of native applications.

Security

Thanks to native APIs, native applications rely on known security protocols, besides the actual added security allowed by the native integration with the platform.

Hybrid applications rely on external plug-ins to ensure greater security and use code common to web technologies, and therefore potentially more vulnerable.

In summary, these are the advantages of each app type:

Native Apps:                   

  • Better performance in general
  • Direct access to operating system features
  • Native interface for each platform
  • Greater security thanks to native APIs

Hybrid Apps:

  • Greater ease and speed in development
  • A single code for various platforms
  • Simpler maintenance common to all platforms
  • Greater variety and quantity of available plug-ins

If you’re still uncertain about your choice, reach out to BloomIdea’s development team to counsel and create the perfect application for your needs.