We live in a time of smartphones and mobile apps. Each day, thousands of mobile applications are launched in different app stores, leading to an increase in competition. As a result, a mobile application development company needs to pay attention to the type of apps they are building and how they will serve the target market.
Mobile applications are of four types – native, web, hybrid, and progressive web apps. Each type serves its purpose. In this blog, we will discuss all four types, one by one.
This type of mobile application is built only for a particular type of operating system. It is known as native because the mobile apps are native to a specific device or platform. An app built on one kind of operating system is not for use on another platform. Simply put, an Android app is only for Android users, whereas iOS apps are only for iPhone users. Mobile app development for native apps requires development tools and language of that particular platform. For instance, Java in the case of Android and Xcode and Objective-C for iOS.
The mobile app provides complete access to controls on the device like the camera, sensors, contacts, etc. One of the most significant advantages of native apps is that they deliver great user experience and high performance. Developers use the UI of the native device. To access native apps, you need to use the respective app store – Google Play Store for Android apps and the App Store for iOS apps.
- More intuitive
- Highly interactive
- Easy to distribute in Apple or Google app stores
- Easily accesses the phone’s features
- Accessible only on a single platform
- Difficult to maintain
- Difficult to learn individual languages such as Java and Swift
The Design of Native Apps
For the development of native apps, developers use the APIs and SDKs of the native device’s operating system. The standard GUI components from the SDK can help create an appearance and appeal that is user-friendly, straightforward, and native to the operating system. The executable for these apps is compiled for the particular operating system and is run directly on that operating system. As a result, the app’s performance is fast.
Mobile Web Apps
- No installation required
- Always updated
- Easy-to-access, resulting in better reach
- Take longer to develop
- Not app
- Performance depends on internet speed
- Interface not modern
The Design of Mobile Web Apps
The most popular technology for mobile web apps is HTML5. It delivers a ‘Write Once Run Anywhere’ application. Mobile web apps are for use on mobile web browsers. A majority of mobile web browsers support HTML5, including the ones working on high-end smartphones. Therefore, HTML5 is the most promising technology that you can rely on for the development of mobile apps.
A combination of both native and mobile web apps results in Hybrid apps. Similar to native apps, they are built on an app store and can access all the features of the device. Additionally, they depend on HTML for running in a browser. The catch here is that the browser is embedded within the app.
- Easy development
- Relatively more affordable than a native app
- Do not require a browser
- Single app for different platforms
- Have access to the device’s features through API
- Take lesser time to develop than native apps
- Less interactive
- Cost more than web apps
- Slow performance in comparison with native apps
The Design of Hybrid Apps
The architecture of hybrid apps relies on the middle ground between web applications and native applications. Web apps give platform independence, however, don’t allow the developer to take advantage of the device features. Moreover, web apps do not function in offline mode. Hybrid apps are a complete package. They deliver platform independence, provide offline operation, along with access to device control.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps are similar to mobile web apps. They operate on the web browser with additional user functionalities. These include offline operation, device control access, and push notifications. These additional features were only available in native apps earlier. A user can use PWAs by tapping an app icon on the home screen that redirects to the app website.
- Easily updated like web pages
- No need to install
- Easy to share using a URL
- Low on Data
- Not quite successful for social media companies since they have their own in-app browser
- Unable to use the latest hardware advancements (for instance, fingerprint scanner)
- Plugins are unable to extract the data from Google and Facebook. User needs to log in separately to those websites as well.
- Some of the re-engagement features are only available for Android – notifications, add to the home screen, etc.
The Design of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs deliver a flawless mobile experience. They are served through HTTPS, guaranteeing safety. They run fast on all operating systems and device types. A mobile application development company needs to separate dynamic and static content for building PWAs. The only way to develop them is the Application Shell Architecture. The app functions in offline mode, as long as the app shell contains the design elements key for app development.
Every type of app has its functionality, advantages, and disadvantages. A business owner must choose a type depending on business requirements and the preferences of the target market. Irrespective of the type of app, mobile app developers and testers must ensure the smooth and functional operation of the app.