When it comes to app development, the options are endless. You’ve got so many questions to answer; what’s your budget? Will your app be built to scale? Should you develop a native app or see what the hybrid hype is about? A good place to start is knowing what your options are for app development frameworks. We’ll give you the rundown.

Before committing to an app development strategy, it’s best to know your app’s intended use, as one framework may be better than the other. Some things to take into account are app performance, user experience, fragmentation, monetization, security, availability of programming expertise, cross-platform deployment costs, timeliness of new OS innovations, and updates and distribution control.

Native Novelty

A native app is probably what comes to mind when you think of mobile apps. Native apps are designed to be inherent to the specific platform they are developed for, for instance iOS, Android or Windows Phone.

Native Pros

  • App Speed- because the app has been designed for each specific platform, apps can operate more quickly.
  • Supports Complex Visuals- apps that survive on good graphics (like a game).
  • Access to Built-in Mobile Capabilities- access user’s camera in an instant without the use of plugins or pinging API’s.
  • Push Notifications- push notifications remind the user to open the app and check their alert, making your application used more often.
  • Smoothness of UX- each mobile platform is different, therefore responsiveness amongst platforms is best when created for the specific mobile platform.

Native Cons

  • Savvy Developers Required- developers need experienced with each platform SDK and programming language for every platform you wish to target.
  • Objective-C is Hard- When building your app for iOS users, developers will use Objective-C or Swift and neither are easy languages to learn or master for that matter. Although the dev community is relatively happy with Xcode, the tool your developer will use to build your native app, it does still come with it’s own steep learning curve.

The Hybrid Hype

Hybrid apps on the other hand are more like websites. They are built using several web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These hybrid apps are hosted inside a native app that uses your mobile platform’s WebView. This allows the app to access native device components such as the camera, GPS or your contacts list. There are several frameworks from which these apps are built.

Hybrid Pros

  • App Building Speed- hybrid apps can be built much faster than native apps due to the fact that they need to be built only once versus native apps which are built for each specific mobile platform.
  • Cross-platform Appeal- write your code once and have it accessed on multiple device types. One set of code can target multiple platforms.
  • Shared Code Base- makes app development and maintenance efficient.

Hybrid Cons

  • Mediocre Technology Combination-combining web apps with native apps (that’s where the name hybrid comes from) can lead to an end product that lacks the slimline style of a web app or the killer features of a native app.
  • Poor Performance- the hybrid mobile framework used puts an extra layer between the source code and the targeted mobile platform, this can cause lackluster performance that varies amongst devices.
  • Debugging Nightmares- the aforementioned extra layer can cause serious bugs. Frameworks and operating systems don’t always play nice. Hybrid app developers may not have a thorough understanding of the targeted platform leading to extended timelines for debugging.

Small Screen, Big Results

Now that you’ve seen the options, you’re on your way to deciding between native or hybrid. Often times, it’s the execution of development that matters. Depending on your budget and your needs, there are options available. Ready to start building? Tell us about your project.