On the surface, creating a mobile app seems easy. However, it’s comprised of many different elements, tools, and software that make it function smoothly at all times. There are 3 main types of mobile apps. Each has its own benefits and weaknesses, as well as how well they work with various development projects.
The 3 Types
- Native apps
- Web apps
- Hybrid apps
Native apps are considered the more traditional approach to app development. They’re designed for individual Operating Systems (OSs) and must be essentially rebuilt to run on other platforms. The programming languages native apps are coded with include: C++, React, Java, Kotlin, Swift, and Python. Since they are created for singular platforms, this allows them to have faster performance speeds. Additionally, they have direct access to all the features of the apps, such as Bluetooth and phone contacts.
The biggest downside to native apps is having to recreate the app for each platform it’s developed on. Reusable code isn’t generally an option across platforms with native apps. This will also slow down development and increase the cost of the entire development project. Another downside is the maintenance and need for updates of each of the platforms as the app grows.
The most significant disadvantage to web apps is that they are entirely dependent on the web browser being used to make the app. Some features or functions may not transfer properly across different platforms. This could disrupt or disappoint users if they have a poor experience. Since the web browser plays such a large role—and no software is downloaded—developers can’t use it offline, meaning power outages, poor service, and more could happen unexpectedly.
Hybrid apps are the middle-man. They have functionalities of native and web apps. Essentially, they appear to be native apps in every sense, but they are actually more advanced web apps. They’re built using Objective C, Swift, HTML, and other similar programming languages. Economically and in terms of development speed, hybrid apps are superior. The loading speed is much faster, which helps even in places of poor internet connection, and they only need one code. Although they do seem like a better option, hybrid apps rely on native APIs and various web technologies for app development.
Each app type works slightly better for different projects depending on the use for the app, expected growth of the app, development time and cost, and the developer(s) skillset. Analyze those elements to properly determine which type of app is the right fit.