Native Apps Or Mobile Sites: Which One To Choose?
Applications have become a part and parcel of everyone’s routine. We use them to check our mails, social networks,...
Native Apps Or Mobile Sites: Which One To Choose?
Applications have become a part and parcel of everyone’s routine. We use them to check our mails, social networks, create and share pictures and videos, play games and much more. We also use apps to learn new languages, order takeaways and use productivity tools to help to serve both personal and professional requirements and tasks.
Ever since the launch of the App store from Apple, lot of companies have been investing a huge lot of money and time to create native apps without thinking carefully on whether their business really needs the app and what could be the real time benefit of the app to the company.
There are also companies that have not invested in native apps or have gambled with web technologies and have faced a huge loss of market share to their competitors. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg says “The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native.”
So now, should we replace all our websites with native apps? Nope! Or, should we just use a native app version of the entire website? Nah. So what should we actually do? When should we consider a native app over a mobile website?
The major advantages of mobile site apps include
Easy To Access : Being a web page basically, mobile sites are designed to work on small screens. Since they are developed using HTML5, the apps are device agnostic and can be accessed with any mobile browser. Since all the content is on the web , it can be easily searched using search engines making it a huge benefit for the customers.
Cross Platform Apps : The write once run anywhere approach used in developing mobile sites helps in creating cross platform mobile apps. These apps have a common code base that can be used across various mobile platforms.
App Store Not Required : Unlike the other types of apps, mobile site apps do not require any approval for submitting your app to any store. This saves a lot of time and effort of developers and the app marketers. In addition to this saves a lot of time for the users as , they need not visit an app store to download the app.
However, mobile sites too have a number of cons ranging from less connected features to deprived user experience. Be it security or promotion of their own platforms ( like Android and iOS ), mobile sites prohibit the access to hardware, software and user data which is the other way round in native apps.
Expensive : Since mobile sites need to be developed for multiple browsers, it becomes expensive for develop to build and maintain them.
Hard To Track User Behavior : Various users use different browsers, making recording and analyzing user patterns difficult, which may further cause a dearth in providing necessary customer support.
Since these apps are not listed in any app store, it makes it really hard for users to search or even recognize your app.
Since these apps are mere web pages, they required strong working internet connection, this may sometime lead to poor user experience.
Native Apps- Strengths And Barriers
A native app is developed in specific to a platform or device. When the app is downloaded, it can be accessed in a smooth and fast way ensuring enhanced user experience.
It can be observed that native apps which have found good success have a common theme that is smart, robust, and intuitive. If the native app is created along with the existing software or website, they offer features just for a few tools using complex algorithms to simplify complicated tasks. In certain cases native apps form a part of a set of applications in which each app focuses on a process at a time.
The major advantages of native apps include:
Great Accessibility Features : Most of the native apps can work offline once downloaded. Since the app is tightly bound to the platform’s ecosystem, it can be easily accessed via lock screen, notifications, home screen or voice assistants. These apps have access to other features of the device such as camera, Bluetooth, or in some cases data in the device such as contacts and calendar.
Better User Experience : As native apps work based on the built in features of the device, user experience is elevated due to the fast performance and easy to use features.
Available On App Store And Completely Secure : Since native apps are supported by concerned market places and app stores, the app can be easily downloaded and assured f security and security.
Developer’s Choice : Developers ought to choose native apps as SDK and oher app development tools are readily available to ease the development process.
Native applications can access exclusive native APIs in the phone’s operating system such as push notifications, camera, and in-app purchases, which are prohibited, or provided in a cumbersome manner on a mobile web application.
The major glitches of native app owners include
Expensiveness : for business owners who wish to have an app that is compatible across various devices and platforms, native apps turn out to be very expensive as the cost to develop, maintain and update the app on all platforms is a rigorous task.
App Approval And Popularity : The process of getting an app approved on an app store or a market place is dreary and not successful always. Even after the app is approved, it takes a very long time for an app to gain popularity among the users especially when there are a huge number of competitors.
Support & Maintenance : Users of different mobile devices may be using different versions of the app, which makes it difficult for the developer to maintain and offer support.
Similar to mobile apps, hybrid apps are developed using HTML, CSS and Javascipt and run on Webview. The core advantage of hybrid apps is that a single app replaces two or more apps that are built in specific to a platform.
Since a single code base can manage the show on all the platforms, the time for developing the app is reduced to a great extent.
Scalability across the platforms is high and thus, an app launched on a specific platform can be easily launched on various other devices and platforms.
Accessibility is same as native apps as solutions such as Phonegap bridge the gap between SDK and Webview in which the app runs.
Performance is the major disadvantage of hybrid apps. Because hybrid apps load in a browser-like component called webview, they are only as good as the webview.
Running a hybrid app on various platforms is a huge work. In some cases, the costs go higher than native apps.
Depreciated UX: The users of iOS and Android tend to use native apps and are used to the way the native apps work. Though the differences are faint, it gets frustrating for users to work with hybrid apps.
Since most hybrid apps are written in HTML5, they rely on the system’s browser to support the wrapper for running the application, which presents a supplantable resource that external parties could exploit beyond the normal security afforded to a native application. This heavily hitches behavior to a system component that could be replaced on customized/rooted devices, creating very difficult situations to isolate and support for errors or exploits.
When a new iOS version is released, hybrid developers need to depend on a third party before designing a hybrid applications on the new OS.
Which One To Choose?
There is no absolute better choice, it all depends on what suits you, your company and venture. Weighing this with the pros and cons, native development sounds like the right choice. But you’re smarter than that, and you realize that a method that works for one app may not work out for another. If you are in need of mobile apps consulting to choose the best kind of app for you, give us a shout and we will be ready to help you.