Web Apps vs Native Apps vs Hybrid Apps
- Depending on the app, these are generally more responsive
- Often conform more to the platform design guidelines
- Faster graphics and code execution
- Each platform (iOS, Android, etc.) requires its own app written from scratch
- Possibly longer development time (using objective-C and/or Java)
Example: Facebook swapped to Native from a Hybrid App.
Non-Native or Hybrid Apps
- Easily target and deploy to multiple platforms
- Large portions of code can be re-used on an associated Web App
- Faster to market
- Conformance to each platform’s design guidelines can add to development time
- Multi-touch features can be troublesome
Example: Netflix use HTML5 for most components and Native layer for higher performance. This is a typical Hybrid implementation and users would never know the difference.
Why Can’t I Just Use A Web App?
Web Apps can be used natively on mobile devices with little or no change, as long as they are designed from the start using Responsive Web Design (RWD) principles. While this approach can initially be a viable way of reducing costs, you may find that at some point your needs are better met by a Hybrid (or Native) approach. Reasons for this are:
- Access to native platform functionality (very limited in web apps)
- User Acceptance. Users are more comfortable installing from the App Store rather than using bookmarks or creating Web App shortcuts on their homescreen.
- Local launch makes the app seem more responsive.