I won’t bore you with an extensive article on the subject. Much has been written about it already. But when you enrich your solutions for your clients with mobile apps, providing them with a new level of efficiency and mobility, then there are a few questions you need to answer to make the right technology choice.
One of the relevant questions you want to answer is, should I go native or hybrid?
We believe that there is no silver bullet. Choosing the right option depends highly on the type of application, existing technology stack, and available expertise. Every client and target audience is unique, so we cannot recommend the best option without proper analysis. But here are some questions you should ask yourself regarding technology, development-power, and market demand:
- Is time-to-market more important than the best possible customer experience?
- How much effort do you wish to put on maintenance?
- What type of devices and operating system do your customers use primarily?
- How much do you plan on leveraging the native APIs (such as biometric security, push notifications, etc.)?
- Do you expect to extend its functionality and envision a second or third horizon for the app?
Once you have gained clear insights, then you can pose yourself the following questions:
Why go hybrid?
Are faster (initial) time to market and fewer maintenance efforts/costs high on your priority list?
Hybrid will give you a single code base for Android and iOS.
Do you want to use your inhouse web team to develop your mobile apps?
Important tip: make sure the web developers have a good understanding of mobile platforms and avoid building mobile apps with the same mindset as building websites.
Do you want the advantage of running one application as a mobile app, website, or even PWA?
Is having one consistent user experience important, whether it is your web-based solution, mobile app, or tablet?
Why go native?
Do you want a premium user experience without much effort?
Do you want your users to have the easiest OS update experience?
Leverage the native SDKs to their full potential and always stay in sync with the mobile OS updates.
Do you want limited dependencies on open source libraries and platforms and an app that is easy to maintain?
And unfortunately, there are drawbacks to each choice that you make.
Drawbacks of hybrid
Hybrid apps can access all native device features but are dependent on native plugins. Sometimes the plugins do not support the full native capability or might not be properly maintained.
Hybrid apps are dependent on frameworks that have to be in sync with the latest mobile OS versions.
Even though the performance of hybrid mobile solutions come quite close to native, they don’t equal native in that area.
Drawbacks of native
Significantly more development effort (iOS and Android). This increases the initial development time and also the time to market. On average, building two native solutions (iOS and Android) takes 30-50% more time than one cross-platform solution.
Keeping both apps (for IOS and Android) in sync requires more effort.
Important tip: keeping the apps slightly out of sync can be a huge time saver because one platform will pave the way, and the other will take less time to implement.
Different skillsets for each platform which can impact the development and maintenance cost.
Making the choice between native and hybrid depends on your objective and how you weigh each of the goals you want to achieve. If you want an expert partner to help you weigh the pros and cons, help you choose the right option, and who also can develop the app for you, well, then get in touch with us.
Sr. Software Engineer and Innovation Expert
Are you considering a mobile app but not quite sure how to approach such an innovation? Then review Paul’s webinar on Pragmatic Innovation, which will help you to start it in a lean and pragmatic way.
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