Living in the Mobile era, the use of Applications or apps as it is generally known has become a norm for individuals as well as enterprises. The ease of use mostly influenced by the ease of installation, i.e. Go to the Platform Specific Store (Google Play/App Store)> Download app (which also installs the app) > Set permissions > Open app. Ever wondered why the list for permissions in some apps is restricted to Contact List, while others ask for Camera, Location, Storage and additional permissions. While every app looks the same in the foreground, it’s the background that defines the difference or in other words it’s the style in which the app is developed, wrapped or packaged, the platform specificity and more.
Enter, the App Types!
No we are not talking in terms of Educational apps, games, marketing apps etc., instead it is the most basic level of characterization when it comes to app creation. The 3 types of apps: Native, Web and Hybrid.
Native Apps are platform specific. So, to begin with the coding language and the packaging differs for each app. There are different apps individually created for specific platforms and are mostly designed to tap on the inherent features of the mobile devices. The file type differs, i.e. .apk files for Android apps and .ipa files for iOS apps.
Getting into the Nitty-gritty
Development: Native Apps are build using software development tools (SDK) for specific software frameworks, platform or operating system. Like Android app built using Java Development Kit on Java platform, iOS app built using iOS SDK, Swift and Objective C. Different source files must be maintained for different platforms which can be a point of inconvenience for enterprises that develop different apps/ use different apps.
The source file for web apps and hybrid apps can be same with only the wrapper being different for the latter, which makes the whole modification and update process easier for enterprises.
Features: Native Apps and even many Hybrid apps have full access to all the hardware on the devices on which they run and hence can utilize almost every feature based on the requirement. This comes in handy for enterprise apps that need features of the mobile for the app function.
Web apps in many ways are nothing but websites that look like apps. The running depends on the browsers and it utilizes very few of the features of the device itself.
Speed: Native app win hands down in this aspect as it offers the quickest access and is optimized for easy usability. Web apps and hybrid apps on the other hand can be greatly influenced by network-browser issues. At an enterprise level speed often determines the effectiveness of the app itself.
Installation: Native Apps and Hybrid apps go through a long & sometimes complex process of getting approved and being installed on user devices. Web apps are not installed on the device, and creating a bookmark is an easy and fast process.
Cost: Native apps are costlier to develop as it involves creating an OS specific app with customized features. Web and Hybrid apps on the other hand are relatively cheaper.
Platform Dependence: Goes without saying that native apps are platform dependent while web apps are platform independent. For hybrids, the native shell is platform dependent while the back-end code is device agnostic.
Offline Functions: Native app offers the best possibility if working in places with no connectivity is a must. While web apps can make do with in-browser caching, the functionality is limited in comparison with native apps.
User Interface: The UserInterface can behighly customized to match the platform requirements in native apps. For Hybrid apps and web apps the interface looks like an app, and the look actually depends on the browser’s properties.
Content Restrictions, Approval Process: Native apps and Hybrid apps are hosted by the respective platform specific app stores and each has specific guidelines, content restrictions and approval processes too. This is often time consuming and may require a base fees, the same applies for content updates. Web apps on the other hand have no such restrictions. While this may seem as an issue when there are many apps in picture, for a few apps enterprises can easily cover the overhead in lieu for better features.
Examples: Native Apps- Google Maps, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
Web Apps- Gmail, Google Docs, Flipkart Lite etc.
Hybrid Apps- Instagram, Amazon, Uber etc.
As for the question which one is better, or which is the right choice for enterprises? The answer would always be “determined by the purpose”. On a broad level the factors that influence the choice are:
- ‘Must-have’ Features
- Target Audience
- User experience
- Security Requirements
- And Cost
So, which type of app would your enterprise opt for and why? If app development is something that you have been pondering upon, just get in touch and the QuadLogix team will walk you through the process and assist in identifying the right approach.