Mobile App Development Approach Means: Hybrid vs Native vs Cross Platform

The market for mobile apps is a quickly turning market with standards and demands that change day by day. To keep up with the speed that is required of them today to develop a proper mobile experience to their users, product owners can go in one of two ways. Either they can use web app and browser rendering for a cross platform approach, or they can use Hybrid app development tools like react native for app development simultaneously across platforms. But how do they all compare? Which is the best? Let’s find out.

First of all, we must understand what each of these approaches mean. Here is a quick breakdown of their respective types.

Native App development:

Ideally speaking, every app would be a native app. A native app is created from the ground up using the native programming language of that platform, like Java for Android or Obj-C for iOS. They are characterized by high performance, native UX, and smooth features.

Hybrid App Development:

To make a good app though, it is not necessary for it to be a native app. Hybrid app development blends native code with reusable code, allowing code reuse where possible, and native code where necessary. Cross platform developers can code the app once, and then compile it separately into native containers for as many platforms as they want.

Cross Platform:

Cross platform apps use a native rendering engine for code that is written in JS. This provides close to native UX, but with freedom from platforms and cost effective development. However, performance does suffer as a result.

Now that you know what each type of approach is, let us see how they impact the important factors to consider during development, and how to base your decision around that.

  • Budget

    One of the first considerations on anyone’s mind, the budget decides the amount of money and complexity your app can have. If you have an unlimited budget, the obvious choice is to go for native apps, as they offer the best performance in their platform. However, the costs can be double to triple that of other approaches. In addition, you must also consider your technical debt down the line, as if you intend to launch on multiple platforms, you will have to maintain separate codebases for each, which will be difficult to do while maintaining feature parity.

  • Time to Market

    From the view of someone who needs to release an app, and fast, hybrid apps are the way to go. While you will have to compromise a little bit on performance, this can easily be optimized down the line, and the gap between hybrid and native apps is lessening as hybrid tools improve hand in hand with mobile device performance.

  • Market Share

    If you want to launch on both major platforms, android and iOS, which most product owners prefer to do, hybrid app development is the way to go. It frees you from the burden of maintaining multiple codebases, and allows for a single team to work on an app for both platforms.

  • Performance

    If performance is extremely important, for example in an app like a game, computing app, or editing app, the choice is native. However, for a simple app that is not very feature or performance heavy, going for a hybrid app development approach is not going to hurt performance at all, as there is virtually no load on the device anyway.

So, what should you choose?

Ultimately, the decision to choose one approach over the other is a question that only you can answer. Based on the list above, you need to decide what factors are important to you, keeping in mind the type of app you need developed, and decide based on that. Make the decision carefully, as it can be very difficult, or impossible, to change down the line.

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