Difference Between Web Apps, Native Apps, and Hybrid Apps

Which one is the best for your business: Web apps, native apps, or Hybrid apps? If you are confused about choosing the correct one, you are on the right page! You will get to know about it all in detail!

Web apps are available on the Internet browser whereas native apps are available in mobile app stores. If you need to have both types of apps, hybrid apps are the best choice. Different types of apps have their pros and cons. So if you are looking for one for your business project, we are here. 

In this article, we have tried to explain all three in detail and how they differ from each other. 

Let’s dive in to learn which kind of apps suit your requirements!

What are web apps?

It’s obvious to get confused between a website and a web app. The basic difference between developing both is that a website is informational whereas a web app delivers interactive and more functionality. You can say a web app looks more or less like a website but feels like a mobile app. 

Web applications can run on different web browsers and are programmed using a web application framework to run on any operating system. Web applications can be less expensive as compared to mobile apps. 

Advantages of web apps

Web applications are preferred by many app owners because of ease of usability, affordability, and efficiency. Here are some other major advantages of web apps to decide between mobile apps vs web apps

  • Web apps are easy to maintain as they use standard website development coding. So, they are also quick to develop and update like a general website. 
  • As they are quick to build, they can be released quicker to the market. One major reason behind their quicker launch is that they do not require approval by marketplaces and app stores. 
  • You can get organic traffic on web apps as they get traffic from search engines like Google. You can also send visitors to your websites on web apps without them asking to download anything. 
  • Web apps are easily accessible through a browser, so you can use them on any device despite the operating system being used. 

Disadvantages of web apps

There are some downsides to using web apps, like less stability, fewer device features, etc. 

Let’s read some more cons of web apps:

  • You can’t access web apps unless you have a wifi connection or mobile data.
  • Since web apps can’t use mobile device’s native features because they have some limitations. 
  • Web apps are not stable as there can be some differences in browsers. Their regular updates will need a good maintenance budget. 
  • You can’t list web apps on app stores and most users have the habit of searching for apps on various app stores. So, they may not find web apps easily. 

What are native apps?

A native app is a type of specific program that is developed to carry out a specific task within a particular environment. Or you can say they are designed for specific mobile operating systems. For example, Swift for iOS and Java for Android. 

Since native apps are based on platform-specific programming languages, you can’t make an application run on different platforms, like iOS or Android. 

Advantages of native apps

If you are in search of optimized user experience and performance for your business app, native apps have a lot to provide. Here are some major advantages of native apps:

  • Developers can get access to the full feature set for the operating system. So, native apps give optimal performance to run smoothly with fewer errors. 
  • Native apps are platform-specific, that’s why they are more intuitive and easy to use. As they are built for every platform separately, they provide the best user experience. 
  • Coding for native applications is simple and more streamlined as there is a single code set for one platform. This single customized code base for each operating system makes development work easy and simple. 
  • Native apps give greater app visibility on app stores for businesses. So, potential users can discover your brand easily. 

Disadvantages of native apps

If there are so many benefits. Then why doesn’t everybody go for native apps? Because there are some flaws too. Let’s read about those too:

  • To build native apps, you have to find a separate development team for iOS and Android operating systems. 
  • Two separate development works mean double development efforts. Hence, development can take more time and money. 
  • If your target audience is specific to only one kind of operating system, opting for native apps is not suitable. 
  • If you are planning to build an app for more than one platform, you have to do design and development work from scratch. This will increase the upfront cost too. 

What are hybrid apps?

Hybrid as the name suggests is the combination of both types of apps: native and web apps. Hybrid apps are capable of running offline on the devices. Such apps are based on technologies like CSS and HTML5. 

Such apps are designed in a way to contribute to the previous website’s content in an app structure. You can access hybrid apps from a web browser or download from an app store. Their speed is completely dependent on the browser’s speed, so you can’t expect them to be as fast as native apps. 

Advantages of hybrid apps

As you have read hybrid apps are like a middle ground between native and web apps. So, they have combined advantages of both kinds:

  • As hybrid apps require a single code set, it takes less development and maintenance time. 
  • The development work becomes easy as developers aren’t required to learn multiple technologies. 
  • A single app for iOS and Android gives access to a wider audience as you can place the app in both app stores. 
  • Hybrid apps can utilize device features, like, push notifications, location tracking, etc.

Disadvantages of hybrid apps

As hybrid apps have benefits for both types of apps, they also have drawbacks of both. If you want to go for a hybrid app, go through the given disadvantages once:

  • The performance of the hybrid apps depends on the internet speed of the user. That’s why user experience can be inconsistent. 
  • If developers want to add new features, they need to wait for the cross-platform framework to have compatibility with the latest features.
  • You may face performance issues as the application is not built specifically for one operating system. 
  • To deploy the application’s wrapper, you need to depend on the third-party platform. 

How to select between web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps?

Now you have read all about web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps, how will you choose the right one for your project? 

To make it easier for you, here are some questions you need to find answers to before finalizing the one.

What is your budget or monetary limit?

If you know your monetary resources well in advance, it will help you to choose the best type of app you need. The budget factor plays an important role in the development of hybrid, web, or native apps as some require a single code set and some require separate code sets. 

How interactive do you want your app to be?

The level of interactivity you need to have in your business app lets you decide the type in advance. Because mobile applications are easier to use from a user’s perspective. 

Which is your target audience or target segment?

If you know your target audience and you have a good understanding of web, native, or hybrid apps, you can select the best technology. For example, if you have more Android users, you can go for only an Android app instead of a hybrid one. 

How important is the offline or online presence for your business?

As you have read above, the users can’t use a web app without an internet connection, so first decide about it. 

How important are app updates for your business?

As you know, users have to go to app stores to install or update hybrid or native apps, so before making a decision, go through this point too. 

Summing Up

That’s all for now!

You should choose the right development approach for your business application to deliver the right user experience. If you know the actual differences between web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps, you can choose the best one for your project. In short:

  • Web apps are based on browsers.
  • Native apps are native on one kind of platform. You will need to develop differently for iOS, Android, or any other platform. 
  • Hybrid apps work on any device despite the operating system being used. 

Apart from this, native and hybrid apps can be installed on devices and can be distributed through app stores. The type of app you need depends on the specific purposes of your business project. That’s why we have given the pros and cons of each to let you decide this easily. 

Hope you find this blog informative!

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