Hybrid vs Web vs Native Mobile Applications: What is the way ahead? – Part 1

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Jul 14, 2014 1:09:07 PM via Website

Mobile application development is thorny in today’s technologically advanced world with an arrival of new application in every three or four months. Apps have amalgamated with new technology to serve various purposes on a device. Whether the applications are ticket purchases, a real-time map, order-tracking or a shopping list, apps have made a very important place in a society. But very soon this “tech utility” has converted into the go-to software to satisfy the hunger pangs of users. Mobile phone users today are getting dependent and specific on getting an iOS, BlackBerry or Android phone but only few of them actually understand the technology behind it, which makes it so much in demand. Now, a world without App stores is hard to imagine. Enormous demands of mobile applications and high obsolescence rate have made the mobile industry to become one of the fastest-growing giant industries. Mobile companies are spending huge amounts in incorporating the best and creative applications for mobile, tabs and laptops to get the top-notch place over other players in the mobile industry. Let’s have an insight of the types of ground breaking techniques which the companies are currently leveraging to escort the way in this multifarious competitive scenario.Nowadays, two mobile platforms are used for developing sophisticated mobile apps – Native and Hybrid, apart from the HTML5-based web app. Let’s have an insight on what you need to know in order to crack this mobile application development dilemma.

Native Mobile Apps:

An application program developed for use on a specific platform or device is basically a Native mobile application. Since native apps are developed by using a particular platform, they can take advantage of the device specific software and hardware. That means- they can use inbuilt software and programs like – global positioning system (GPS) and camera. One of the best parts of native applications is that they are faster and specific to platforms like Android and iOS etc. They are usually developed by the use of integrated development environment (IDE). IDEs are best known tools for providing services like- project development, building debugging, version control and many others. However, iOS and Android applications are generated by using different languages and IDEs, there’s a lot of similarity in the techniques and the development environment. So, exploring the differences of the two languages is not a pre requisite. By simply using the tools required by the devices, programmers can develop native apps, which are at times difficult to develop.

Mobile Web Apps:

Web apps are actually not real applications; they are really websites. Their look and feel is like native applications, but they are not implemented in a similar way as native apps are implemented. They run through a browser and are typically written in HTML5. Mobile web apps can be accessed normally as users access any web page. To install the app, users are needed to navigate to a special URL and there they get the option of “installing” the app on their home screen by creating a bookmark to that page.

Basically, web apps became popular when HTML5 came and people realized that they can get native like functionality in the browser. Nowadays, when more and more websites use HTML5, the difference between web apps and regular web pages has become blurry.

Hybrid Mobile Apps:

Hybrid apps are actually developed using a combination of the native and HTML5-based web features. An HTML5 mobile app is basically a web page, or chain of web pages, that are developed to run on a small screen. Hybrid development unites the best and leaves the worst points of both the native and HTML5 platforms. Hybrid app can also be called as a web app, which is initially developed using HTML5 and JavaScript and then it is wrapped in a lean native container that makes it accessible to native platform features as well. Apart, from being a bit slow platform in accessing NFC, Bluetooth, etc and requires a third party plug-in, hybrid platform has handful of advantages. A hybrid application has a potential to develop applications using Android, Windows and Blackberry in spite of the factor that each of the platform requires different development environment, language and framework. To get a prominent presence in the app store without spending significant effort for developing a different app, companies develop hybrid apps as wrappers for an existing web page. Moreover, hybrid apps are also popular because they allow cross-platform development. That means, developers can reuse the same HTML code components on different mobile operating systems, which in turn, reduces significantly the development costs. Tools like PhoneGap and Sencha Touch allow users to design and code across platforms, using the power of HTML.