Every time we start a new project, we organize brainstorming sessions about architecture and how to manage the project. Regarding mobile apps, we have one additional question – should we choose a hybrid or native app?
Let’s start from the absolute beginning. What is a native app?
A native app is a software or program developed to carry out a specific task within a platform or environment. Native apps are built using software development tools (SDK) for particular software frameworks, hardware platforms, or operating systems. Native apps are built for use on a particular device, such as Apple iPhone or Google Android. To create an iOS application, we use Swift, which replaced Objective-C a few years ago. If we want our app to be available on Android phones, we can choose Kotlin (more popular) or Java (replaced by Kotlin a few years ago, however, we can still use it). Let’s start by discussing the pros and cons of native apps.
First – native apps are stable and reliable. That’s especially worthwhile cause if you work on large projects, you want to focus on implementing new features, not fight with platform limitations. While working on a native app, you can be sure you will find well-prepared documentation for each part of the SDK – it does not matter if it’s a camera, Bluetooth, or design principles.
If you want to use a specific part of SDK or hardware that is specific to a platform, such as Bluetooth, a camera native app also would be a better choice. Even if you decide to go hybrid, these components need to be handled by native code, so you would need a library or plugins. It doesn’t make sense to use native frameworks in hybrid apps.
If we are planning a big battery driller app with a beautiful, complicated, animated UI, we should choose a native app. Performance and responsiveness are much better than hybrid can offer. Same thing if we’re talking about UX; better UX equals digital customer engagement.
All these points are essential, but what matters the most is security. You should know that native apps are much safer, more stable, and less vulnerable to security risks.
Of course, native apps are not perfect, and we can easily find examples of ideas when a hybrid app would be a better choice.
Native apps, of course, have a separate codebase for Android and iOS. This means we have (at least) two teams to manage one project. This also reflects bug fixing – it’s much easier and takes less time to find and fix bugs if we have one code base.
You should also consider the time you have to create an app. Developing on multiple platforms means a more extended development schedule and, as a result, higher development costs. Therefore, native app development quickly eats up resources.
You always have a choice 😊 Native app is a clever idea, but is it always the best one, and what is it – a hybrid app? A (hybrid app) is a software application that combines elements of both native apps and web applications. Simply – it is the technology where we share the codebase between platforms – Android and iOS. The most popular frameworks are:
- React Native
- KMM (soon 😉)
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of hybrid apps.
Of course, the most significant advantage of hybrid apps is that they can be used across platforms and devices – they share one code base. Cool, isn’t it? This means more accessible updates, bug fixes, and maintenance. Also, Development is much simpler and quicker by not having to build from the ground up for each platform.
A crucial thing is the deployment process. Hybrid apps can be deployed much faster than native apps, which can be extremely helpful, especially in big, complicated projects.
Regarding performance, reduced time frames equate to reduced resource drain. We should keep that in mind.
Finally – Hybrid apps can take advantage of dynamic web content. If you plan to create a big social platform – mobile app, web page, and so on – you should consider a hybrid app.
Looks interesting, right? Well, it is not an ideal solution. Like everything else – it has some limitations.
As we mentioned, there are components that 100% rely on device-specific components or hardware – like cameras, Bluetooth, etc. To use that feature in hybrid applications, we need to implement plugins or parts – or create them ourselves. That can be time assuming but also can present security risks.
The second important thing is user experience – it can suffer as hybrid apps cannot take advantage of the platform’s UI.
The last thing – being unable to take full advantage of the hardware sometimes impacts the performance of our applications by making them poor and insecure.
There is one proposition that eliminates most of our cons – KMM, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile. Its significant advantage is that we share the whole business logic between platforms – Android and iOS using Kotlin language. We create separate native layouts and UI layers for each platform. But of course – there is a problem 😊 KMM is still in the alpha phase, and, in my opinion, it is not production ready yet. But we should keep an eye on that as it might be a revolution.
It is not an easy task to choose the best technology. We should consider many varied factors that can impact our app. Here are key takeaways for both solutions – native and hybrid.
Native apps: Key takeaways
Native apps provide the best stability and security. They will tend to perform faster and be able to handle the most demanding tasks. This kind of application is best placed to use specific devices’ hardware functionality. The user experience is smooth and featureful.
Hybrid apps: Key takeaways
Hybrid apps are easy to get onto iOS and Android. By utilizing a single codebase, you can reduce budget and time costs.
Check related articles
Read our blog and stay informed about the industry's latest trends and solutions.
see all articles