Hybrid vs native development

Which mobile development is better? Is it native or hybrid? Well, it depends on your idea and your overall business plan.

Richard Kacerek
Richard Kacerek

Which mobile development is better? Is it native or hybrid? Well, it depends on your idea and your overall business plan.

It’s not a question of which one is better but which development approach is better for your long term. The objective is a great app used by millions of users and a good business behind it.

There are two significantly different approaches to building an app. Native and Hybrid. A Native approach relies on the hardware and operating system native language (Swift for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android). Hybrid app development, on the other hand, uses a container to run your application in, a framework which is pretty much the same for either platform. Each approach is fundamentally different and has strong evangelists in each camp.

You might have been talking to mobile app development agencies and heard these terms like React, Native, Hybrid or even Xcode.

The objective of this article is to explain two different routes to the same destination. Mobile development agency might make that choice for you, or like Empire Elements will consult this with you and help you choose the right one which is best for your long term business plan.

The debate in the mobile industry is never ending, native or hybrid app development?

Native app development

A native mobile app is developed for a specific platform, specifically for iOS or Android. A developer has direct access to device hardware like Bluetooth, microphone, GPS. This results in faster access and ultimately, better performance and security. The UI can also be streamlined and optimised better to suit your brand. Among other benefits, we have the option of offline use. So if you are planning a complex app which uses the hardware then choose native application development. Yes, it means that you will have two code bases, one for iOS and one for Android but you can manage each platform, and it’s potential. For example, Apple has an excellent subscription system, and in-app purchases, Android offers the same, but these features would have to be developed with a slight difference, in two separate code branches. Separated branches are not necessarily a bad thing, and it gives you more options, such as security.

Hybrid app development

A hybrid framework is essentially an HTML, CSS and JavaScript technology wrapped in a web view. It uses native components to connect and use with the device — an extra step which Native development does not have.

Frameworks like React Native or Ionic have been around for a few years now and gathered momentum among developers and businesses. Hybrid frameworks got better, faster, and there are some cool things they can do but have their drawbacks. A battery consumption, the device security and somewhat lack of advanced plugins are the most significant drawbacks. It means that some features still need to be “connected” natively despite using a framework. Camera or video playback is just one of the examples. React Native allows for native connections to be made, that’s a neat feature.

So which one is better for you?

It depends really on how complex your app will be. Loading data and sending data is something a hybrid framework can do well, it’s fast development time, already made modules and plugins mean you can have web team capable of building and maintaining a mobile app (probably alongside your web app) and miraculously even from a single codebase. The ionic framework allows us to create something like this. Development is cheaper and faster, usually less expensive to maintain in the long run too.

Choose native development if you plan to use more hardware functions and if you want better options for security and user interface and user experience. Native development is how apps were meant to be built.

Examples of a different approach

Do A Wilson app was developed natively in Swift language for iOS because of the native controller of the device like location, subscription, camera and Metal graphics. The results are apparent; it would only not be cost efficient to build this solution in a hybrid framework.

Scoob-E was on the hand was developed using React Hybrid Framework for speedier development for both platforms (iOS and Android) and that the app does not use sophisticated features. There is a pot of API “chatter” between the app and our servers, but that’s fine as it’s fully server-less and automatically scalable. The client has saved 35% of costs and two months 0f development time.