Native/Web/Hybrid – How to Choose a Mobile App Development Platform?

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Each day FATbit’s team receives a number of queries about mobile application development from existing and new customers. All are confused and often misguided by development companies about the mobile platform they should choose. The technical details baffle them even further and the quoted price is usually seen as the deciding factor.

In our previous post, we shared 10 tips to improve mobile website/ application UX. Now our team will help you make a more informed decision about mobile app development platform choice.

There are mainly 3 options of mobile application development:

  • Native app: Are mobile apps built for specific platforms like iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, etc, using their respective development tools and language.
  • HTML5 Web App: Mobile optimized websites that appear to be apps and run on the mobile browser. These are platform independent but lack superior UX and functionality. 
  • Hybrid/ Cross- Platform App: Single mobile app built on HTML5 and optimized for multiple platforms (using native containers). They are downloaded from the app stores like native apps.

We advise everyone looking for a mobile app development company to answer these simple questions before deciding:

1) Who and how large is your mobile app’s targeted user audience?
2) What is the challenge you wish to overcome?
3) What type of mobile app is best suited to address your business need?
4) How much time and money do you wish to invest to get the desired ROI?

Here are some of the questions that a good mobile app development companies should ask you:

How many platforms do you wish to target?

The answer to this depends on who is your target audience. Some people wish to develop a mobile application just for a particular platform and do not mind the limited reach; eg. people who opt for an app only for iPhone to target high net worth individuals. Native apps are the way to go for them.

Those who want a wider reach you can opt for multiple native apps, specifically developed for each operating system. A hybrid app will also let you reach all platforms through a common app. The hybrid app will have a common HTML5 and Javascript code wrapped in native containers making it compatible cross-platform.

How complex is the desired mobile app?

The complexity of your mobile app is dependent on what problem you wish to solve through the mobile app. Some apps are very demanding in terms of features and some are much simpler. A native app can access hardware like GPS and camera, handle the hard keys of a phone, link to an online database, manage large amounts of client side data, run offline and access widgets seamlessly. All this is not possible with a web app but people usually perceive that it is also impossible for a cross platform app.

With time, many more development tools are now available that can allow you to develop a hybrid app that can do almost everything that can be done with the help of a native app. The only problem is that, as the complexity of the application increases, developing a hybrid app to manage all the OS specific features keeps getting tougher. It is thus advisable to opt for a hybrid app for simpler solutions.

Choose a native app if you want:

  • An app which demands quick response and high performance
  • That can process large amounts of data on the client side
  • To manage system resources or Operating Systems
  • For video or game scenarios

If you want an app that is operational even in the offline mode then a web app is out of option. For that you need a hybrid or native app. Hybrid apps can do almost everything offline that a native app can.

What are your expectations from the mobile app’s UX?

Some applications (especially online stores and games) have a demanding use experience while some like a simple to-do list app don’t really care about all this. A native app (if designed by a UX expert) tops the chart if you wish to get a mobile app with an interactive, engaging and OS specific user experience. A hybrid app will however only provide an average user experience.

In no way is the user experience of an HTML5 or hybrid app poor. The point we wish to highlight here is, it might not be OS specific. To quicken the development process, it usually has a common UI for all phones as it is built with a ‘one size fits all’ ideology.

What a good web application designer can do for you is provide a high-quality browsing experience by including components that give an OS specifically look and feel. Eg. This hybrid app Heppiz- developed by FATbit for is designed to provide engaging user experience and the user interface of Heppiz is completely different for Android and iOS.

heppiz

It is not just the look and feel but also the performance that defines UX. The performance of a hybrid app is good but it is comparatively slower and at times more demanding of the phone’s battery if not developed by an expert.

A perfect app is feature rich, user friendly and engaging User Experience. Choose a development company that can build what you want.Consult development & UX experts

How much time and money can you invest?

Every mobile operating system has a different development language and thus requires specialized developers to build native apps. A hybrid app is built on HTML5/js/css and this is not a rare skill set. The development cost of a native app is thus much higher than that of a hybrid app. If you wish to develop multiple native apps for each platform then the time and money that you need to invest will accordingly multiply. Hybrid apps are also easier to update and maintain as you are primarily managing a common code and a single app.

Getting a HTML5 web app will be the quickest and most cost effective solution but it will not serve your purpose in most cases.

Do you think your app’s content will clear the approval process?

Every mobile application, whether native or hybrid, needs to undergo an approval process before getting featured on their respective app stores. They must pass all restrictions imposed on their app’s content, images and design. Some applications containing racist, adult or inappropriate content do not get an easy clearance.

Such apps prefer to stay on the web in the form of HTML5 web apps, where there are no censors on the content being shared. Some apps like Twitter, where users create and share content, have started using a warning label before showing objectionable content.

Native app Vs HTML5 Web app Vs Hybrid app:

After measuring all the pros and cons, we can compare the 3 mobile app development options as following:

mobile apps

With time, the gap between native and hybrid apps is getting bridged as better development, debugging and testing tools emerge. Hybrid apps have made mobile app development approachable to many. Yet the number of people ready to invest in a native app is increasing. Those who do not have the budget to build and market a mobile app have started opting for web apps. There is now something for everyone who wants to take their business mobile.

So, which other factors influence a person’s app platform choice?

Take an informed decision before getting a mobile app developed. To clarify any further doubtsClick Here

Disclaimer: The Blog has been created with consideration and care. We strive to ensure that all information is as complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Despite our continuing efforts, we cannot guarantee that the information made available is complete, correct, accurate or up-to-date. We advise - the readers should not take decisions completely based on the information and views shared by FATbit on its blog, readers should do their own research to further assure themselves before taking any commercial decision. The 3rd party trademarks, logos and screenshots of the websites and mobile applications are property of their respective owners, we are not directly associated with most of them.



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Comments (4)
sivani

your article provided me some useful tips that I’m excited to follow. but i had a doubt I have created a hybrid application in jQeury mobile with phonegap … the question is Can I publish it in Google playstore / Apple appstore like other native apps

FATbit Chef Post author

Hello Sivani,

For sure you can publish it on Google Play and Apple App Store.

Submitting on Google Play is easy and straight forward. To be available for Apple App Store, your app needs to be approved by Apple. That is done manually by Apple Guys. So, before submitting to App Store, please check your app thoroughly and look for Apple guidelines for submitting an app.

Some people say that phonegap based apps do not get approved on Apple App Store but that is not the case. We’ve got many apps approved at Apple App Store which are based on phonegap. The point is “Your app should be an app and not a wrapper around a website.”

All the best.

FATbit Team