When developing an app, the question often arises which way to go – to develop a native mobile application or a web application. Both paths have advantages and disadvantages, some of which can be critical for development. Let’s take a look at the possible pros and cons of web applications and native applications together and find out which type is right for you.
Things to Consider When Building a Web App or Native App
Before choosing which type of application you need to develop, you need to answer a few important questions for yourself, the answers to which will help you understand what is best for a particular project.
- Can the application be used offline?
- What is the project budget?
- How important is the speed of a particular application?
- How do you want to make money on the app?
- What features should it include?
Native mobile applications involve software designed to run only on mobile devices and are installed on their operating systems through internal distribution channels (App Store, Google Play) or through a separate download (only in the case of devices on Android OS).
Mobile applications allow you to easily implement hardware technologies that carry a device directly into the application (gyroscope, camera, GPS, fingerprint recognition, face recognition, etc.). The code of such an application includes all the source images, audio files, etc. Such applications are created in the development environment provided by the operating system vendors (Xcode or Android SDK).
The disadvantages of native applications include the fact that the program code is written for a specific operating system and cannot be quickly and easily transferred to another platform. Updates and improvements can only be made to new versions of the product, in contrast to web applications, where such improvements can be made on the server-side. New versions of native apps must be manually uploaded to app stores.
Mobile Apps Pros
- Optimal use of the operating system and device hardware – You can fully use the potential of the capacities and features of the device.
- A big advantage of native ones is sending notifications to the device – they are a call to action and make users visit the app more often.
- Offline mode – If for web applications you need a constantly available Internet, then for native applications the Internet is absolutely not necessary.
- Easy promotion – Mobile applications have a great chance of being found through the App Store and Google Play, the web application will have to be promoted in other ways.
Mobile Apps Cons
- Development cost – The development of a mobile application is often more expensive due to the nature of the operating systems of mobile devices. Most often, applications for iOS and Android need to be developed separately.
- The need to install on a device – A native application requires mandatory installation with all the ensuing consequences. Many users will not want to waste device memory on an unnecessary application.
- Updates – Security updates and the addition of new functions must be carried out manually at the smallest update.
- The approval process in App store – Approving applications in the app store can take a long time, the Apple store needs to very carefully check the application for compliance with all internal rules.
The web app is a responsive website that can be run on almost any device with a web browser, on any reservation system. You need a clear understanding that a web application is not a website in the direct sense of the term.
The cost of developing a Web application is often significantly lower than the development of similar functionality, but sometimes such applications face a lack of access to the device hardware or even the lack of a hardware part in some devices.
The web application is easy to update since the entire software part is on the server, there are no third-party consoles, and there is no need to wait for vendor approvals. There are no additional downloads for the user.
Web App Pros
- One version of the application for all platforms – Available on any device, regardless of the operating system.
- Cost-Effectiveness – Just like the previous point, you only need to develop and maintain one version of the application, which costs less for your budget.
- Faster release – The web application does not need to wait for third-party confirmation, the launch to market is much faster.
- No need to download – The memory on the user’s phone will not be affected, the entire application is available in the browser application.
Web App Cons
- Internet usage – A permanent Internet connection is required to use the application since all functionality is stored remotely.
- Hardware limitation – Inability to use some hardware capabilities of devices due to limitations of the operating system or because of their absence on various types of devices.
- Lack of push notifications – For some applications, it can be a vital function.
- No desktop accessibility – The icon on the desktop can affect the frequency of use, since the user needs to log into the browser every time to access the application.
Should I Choose a Native Application or a Web Application?
The choice depends on several criteria. You need to determine for yourself the most important goals for you or your company that the application will pursue.
It is worth considering which functions are the most important. If you need access to the full functionality of the device itself, then you should choose a mobile application. If the speed of the application is also an important aspect, then the mobile application is your choice.
If you need offline access to an application, then you have no other choice but to develop a native application.
The budget is also an important criterion. If it is very limited, then a web application is the best choice.
When creating any kind of application, you need to remember that user experience and usability are paramount. An application development company must make important and correct decisions at the earliest stage of development, taking into account all the aspects listed in the article. This will help create an application that is best suited for both users and the entire business.
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