+49 30 258 143 174
+49 30 258 143 174
We are often asked what are hybrid apps and what is the difference between hybrid apps, native and web apps and on the basis of which technology it would be better to develop an app. Since it is not possible to give a blanket answer, in this article we have tried to help you decide based on some criteria.
The article is structured as follows:
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What is a native app? These apps are developed using tools and languages supported by corresponding platforms (XCode and Swift for iOS apps, Android Studio and Kotlin for Android). Native apps run only on the target platforms.
From this website you will find an excellent overview of hybrid (and not only hybrid) frameworks!
Before starting an app project, it is important to decide which technology should be used for the development. The wrong question is “which technology is better?”, but the right question is “what kind of project is it, what are the goals and what budget is available?
Performance: In terms of performance, native apps are clearly better than the other two alternatives. Such apps also put less strain on the hardware resources of the devices. The speed of the app is one of the most important usability criteria and should therefore not be ignored. But also the touch sensitivity, support of various gestures, be it standard gestures or app-specific gestures, are much better with native apps.
Offline usability: The native and hybrid apps can be used offline without any problems. This can become an issue with the web apps. The browser caching and local database supports offline mode in the web apps, but the offline usage capacities are still relatively limited in web apps.
Access to native functions: This point is one of the strongest arguments for native apps. Although the web apps can access some features of the operating system/device, the scope is hardly comparable to native apps. Native apps can access the full scope of OS features, such as GPS, camera, contact details, gestures, notifications, etc. The hybrid apps can also access most of the functions, see for example. Example from PhoneGap.
Installation: The native and hybrid apps are downloaded from app stores and installed. After installation, the apps are accessible via an icon on the desktop. The web apps (HTML5 apps) are accessed just like regular websites, via a link or when typing a URL. After that, these apps can be bookmarked on the device’s screen and later opened via an icon/bookmark just like an ordinary app. Obviously, the installation is rather disadvantageous for native and hybrid apps, since the search and installation of an app, takes time, dropping a bookmark on the other hand is very easy. However, this function is used relatively rarely.
Accessibility: Web apps are easier for end users to find and use. If one is looking for information, or wants to complete a specific task, they are much more likely to look on the web for information first. Let’s say the user is on the go and wants to quickly convert a currency, which is more likely, to go to the app store, download an app, open it and convert, or to look it up on Google and go to the next best website to convert the currency? Probably the second option.
Development cost and time: for this criterion, the key is whether the app needs to be developed for a single platform (typical case e.g. iOS app for iPad for use within a company), or as many platforms as possible need to be covered. In the first case, it does not matter on the basis of which technology you develop the app, effort and time period are approximately the same. The difference in terms of price and time period becomes greater the more platforms need to be covered. I.e. the savings for three platforms is greater than for iOS/Android only. If you take the normal case, i.e. an app that runs on iOS and Android, you can save between 15-20% in cost for hybrid or web apps compared to native apps. Why not 50%? It’s simple: the actual app development is only a sub-process. The overall project also includes many other parts, such as the design, backend, testing, project management, etc. Here you hardly save anything.
Not to be neglected are also the fixed and variable costs for App Store accounts and especially the transaction fees of 30% (i.e. the money Apple, Google Play and Co. take from your sales)! Of course, these costs do not apply to HTML5 apps. The same applies to the content of the app: Apple is very picky about the content, Google not to the same extent, but still has a content policy. Web, on the other hand, is (almost) free and you can publish (almost) anything in the web app.
Native apps are clearly better in terms of performance and usability. Documentation, support and available tools also make native apps a better choice. So if you want to create an app that really “rocks”, go native!
On the other hand, if you want to create an app for multiple platforms quickly and relatively inexpensively, especially if the use of the OS’s native features is not too extensive, you’ll be better off with hybride Apps
better off. It is also important to remember that the possibilities and capacities of such apps and the tools available for their development are improving very quickly.
For those who place a lot of value on traffic from the web, highly value platform independence and have little interest in accessing native functions or offline operation, web apps (HTML5 apps) are recommended. However, we must emphasize again, this alternative is only recommended as an exception.
On the basis of the criteria described, we have created an overview for orientation purposes, for which app category which technologies would be recommended. This overview is also based on the results of various studies and surveys, such as that of venturebeat.com. These studies show which technologies are preferred for which apps.
In general, the broader the target group and the lower the performance requirements, the more sensible it is to use a hybrid or a Web App (HTML5 App) to develop. In the opposite case, a native app would be a better alternative.
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