Applications are in continuous development. The most common two applications are native and mobile web apps, but today there’s a hybrid version, which is a combination of the two existing ideas.
Based on a research conducted by Rainmaker Labs, a Singapore-based mobile app development company, we believe that hybrid apps are the future by combining the best of native and mobile web apps. However before we go on, what is the difference between native, web and hybrid apps?
Native apps are installed on the device and accessed through the app icon on the device itself. They are installed through an app store (Apple’s App Store or Google Play). It is specifically developed for one platform and it can take full advantage of all the device’s features like camera, contact list, compass and GPS. Native apps can use the device’s notification system and work even when there is no internet connection.
Mobile web apps
Web apps are websites that look and behave like native apps. They are run by a browser and typically written in HTML5. Users first access them as they would any other web page. Often, they would be redirected to a special URL and then be prompted to “install” the web app by creating a bookmark to that page.
Web apps are only able to utilize some features of the device, like GPS and tap to call, while native features like notifications remain unavailable.
Hybrid apps combine the best of both worlds. Like native apps, they have to be downloaded in an app store and are able to utilize any of the features the device has. As for the web app part, they rely on HTML being rendered in a browser embedded within the app.
So why hybrid? Here are the top 3 reasons why:
1: Reduced cost of development across multiple platform
When developed across multiple platforms (iOS, Android, etc.), the same HTML components can be used for different mobile OS. This significantly reduces development costs and effort.
2: Retaining full use of device features while making maintenance easier
Unlike a pure web app, a hybrid app can fully utilize all the features available in the smart device. But while a purely native app can also use all of the features of the device, maintaining it is complicated for both users and developers. Updates have to be rolled out in the form of a new version, which requires users to upload. A hybrid App bypasses that, as maintaining the content is as simple as updating a webpage, and can be done when needed.
3: Combines the best of both worlds
When connected to the web, the hybrid app offers its full variety of features and content, but when offline, it still retains much of its advanced offline capabilities. It has increased visibility because the app can be distributed via app stores or via search engines.
Just a friendly warning
While I have a bias towards hybrid apps, one should still carefully consider if a hybrid app is suitable for their app idea. Also, while it’s important to decide what type of app you’re building your idea on, it is even more important to ensure that the design and quality of the final product is good because ultimately, that is what matters the most.