The Native vs Hybrid Face-Off: Which Wins on Each Count

A primary and important decision that needs to be taken before building a mobile app is whether it should be built as a native or hybrid app.

v2_Native vs Hybrid blog updated

A native app is one that’s developed specifically for a particular operating system such as Objective-C or Swift for iOS or Java for Android.
A hybrid app on the other hand, is a website packaged into a native wrapper. It is a web app built using HTML5 and JavaScript, wrapped in a native container which loads most of the information on the page. It is platform agnostic and can be used by users of different operating systems.
While many experts have debated the native vs hybrid question, we have examined the 5 most important considerations. We tell you which option wins on each count, and why, so you can make your decision based on what’s most important to you.

1) User Experience

A native app follows the technical and user experience guidelines of a particular OS, for example swipes, app defined gestures, left aligned header on Android, centrally aligned header on iOS etc. This ensures faster performance and comfort to the user, as it has a look and feel consistent with other apps on the platform. Native applications access and utilize the built-in capabilities of the device, such as GPS, address book, camera etc.

When it comes to hybrid apps, there are many practical difficulties in meeting the style guidelines of the different OS. As these guidelines are too different, the design of a hybrid often ends up becoming a compromise, so cannot match the user experience of the native app.

2) Time to Market & Development Costs

A hybrid app is built in a single source code and can be released for various OS. This reduces development time and effort considerably as compared to native applications.

3) Security

Native applications leverage platform-specific built-in security features, so they are considered to be more secure than hybrid.
As hybrid apps depend on webviews, they could be prone to injection attacks when using certain APIs. Each platform offers certain tools and libraries to minimize the risk of attack, and these are available to native apps.

4) Ease of Updating

When a native app is updated, users need to update the app in order to experience the changes.
With a hybrid app, many updates will be on functionality that resides on the server, and the user will see the updated app without having to do anything.

5) Performance

The speed and performance of a hybrid app may vary depending on the volume of usage and how well the servers have been configured to handle the load.
As a hybrid app accesses data being loaded from the server, so if the request volume is large and the right load balancing of the servers is not in place, it could have an impact on the speed of the app.

With this as a quick reference list, the path you choose depends on what’s most important for you. If you need quick development, low cost and convenience, then hybrid may be the way for you. On the other hand, if user experience is your primary focus, then native will probably serve you better.