The native vs. hybrid debate in app development has become one of those fallback conversations you have at office gatherings or jump into in forums when you want to procrastinate on your work. What makes it such an evergreen topic, in our opinion, is that there exists no definitive answer.
Although many developers have shifted to hybrid development, some still prefer native development, which entails building a separate mobile application for each platform, like iOS and Android. Native applications are normally written using Swift or Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android.
So which is better? Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing between native or hybrid development:
Since native apps are built specifically for a certain platform, they are typically written in lower-level machine code, which generally makes them faster and more efficient. This makes native development a better option if you are building an application with memory-consuming features and many background processes.
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Developing only one app for all platforms is definitely easier and less time consuming than developing a separate product for each platform. This is a great advantage for hybrid development as it allows for faster release, faster market penetration, and easier prototyping across platforms.
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Going hybrid requires building just one application with one team that specializes in web development. Meanwhile, native development requires more development time and distinct teams for each platform, which means having to pay salaries for more talent over a longer period of time. Thus, the cost of developing a hybrid application is much cheaper.
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In hybrid applications, it is much easier to add new features and bug fixes as users aren’t forced to install an update. With native apps, users typically have to install a new version whenever a new feature is added or a bug fix is made. Using a bug reporting tool that operates within your hybrid app makes this process even more seamless, as bugs can be detected and fixed in real-time.
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iOS and Android have different design and UX characteristics. The two platforms offer similar functionality, but are executed in different ways. Each has its own standard for things like lists, menus, and headers. Stray too far from these known patterns and you’ll risk confusing the user.
When you build a native app, it is really easy to meet users’ expectations because you are following specific standards. On the other hand, building a hybrid app means that you can’t strictly follow the two major platform patterns.
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Getting app store approval to publish an application is not easy. They pay particular attention to UX and design conventions. As a result, getting app store approval for hybrid apps may be a bit harder.
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Long story short, there is no right and wrong. Deciding between native and hybrid app development is about trade-offs and all depends on your app and future plans. Many apps began with one strategy that was appropriate for that time and situation, then later pivoted. For instance, the Facebook app started out as hybrid then shifted to native.
The key is to weigh your priorities. Given your time and resources, what is a must have and what is a nice-to-have? , Given the weight of the application and your beliefs about its future evolution within the market, is it crucial for you to build your application for both platforms at the same time from the start?
Would you choose hybrid or native development for your app and why? Share your arguments with us in the comments below!