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The Simplest Guide for Choosing Between Native, Hybrid, and Cross-Platform App Development

Global app download numbers have been predicted to reach 299 billion by 2023, generating a revenue of more than $935 billion for the mobile app market.

In light of such rapid growth, the mobile app industry is now more competitive than ever before. Besides great performance, unique features, and seamless UI/UX, the success and profitability of an app depends on several other factors like time-to-market, the scope for regular maintenance & updates, enhanced security.

As an app developer, if you have ever faced a tough time deciding between the correct platform or the right development approach for your app, this blog can help you out.

Let’s look at the three major mobile app development approaches, highlighting the pros and cons of each, while also establishing which approach is the right one for your needs.

Native App Development

Native apps are built exclusively for a specific device or a mobile app platform like iOS or Android. This development approach requires coding with programming languages that are native to the particular operating system. For instance, native iOS apps use Objective-C or Swift, while Native Android apps make use of Java or Kotlin.  

Native app development enables you to add more advanced features and capabilities to your app, fully leveraging the device’s hardware such as its camera, microphone, GPS, sensors, and more. 

If you are looking to develop mobile apps of the highest quality, in terms of user experience, performance, and features, native development is the right way to go about it. However, there are some significant drawbacks to this approach, as well.

You should choose native app development in these scenarios:

  • You are planning to launch your app on only one platform.
  • You intend to win over your target customers with the ultimate user experience.
  • You want to create an intuitive, easy-to-use app that can acquire a large daily active user base.
  • You are looking to fully utilize device-specific features in your app.
  • You want to be able to easily update and customize your app with new features, in the future.
  • Your app employs 3D games and/or animations.

Hybrid App Development

Hybrid apps are developed using a blend of native and web solutions. In hybrid development, the coding is done with relatively simpler programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and so on. Using plugins like Apache Cordova or Ionic’s Capacitor, this backend code is then embedded into a native viewer that displays the native functionalities of the app.

Hybrid app development allows the reusability of the backend code to create native apps for multiple platforms. Although hybrid apps can provide performance and user experience very close to that of native apps, they fall short when it comes to the usability of device-specific features on other platforms.

It is recommended that you opt for hybrid app development, only if:

  • You want to develop a multi-platform app with native features, within a limited development time.
  • You are developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for a native app.
  • You intend to develop a web app that can be disseminated across all major app stores.
  • Your target audience comprises a broad group that would access the app on mobile devices as well as on the web. 

Cross-platform App Development

Although the terms ‘hybrid’ and ‘cross-platform’ are often used interchangeably, there are stark differences between the two development approaches. 

For one thing, cross-platform apps are built using development frameworks with cross-platform support, such as Google’s Flutter which uses Dart as the programming language, or Meta’s React Native which uses JavaScript.

These cross-platform frameworks allow you to reuse the same code to develop apps for multiple operating systems or platforms. This helps reduce the efforts and costs for development while ensuring a wider reach for your app.

However, all these benefits come at the cost of app performance and responsiveness. 

Cross-platform app development would be suitable for you if:

  • You are targeting customers from multiple platforms while working with limited time and budget
  • Your app does not employ complex logic, interfaces, and animations. 
  • You have limited time to test the market reception of a new idea.

Conclusion

Among these three app development approaches mentioned in this article, none can be proclaimed as the clear winner. The approach of your choice must align with your project requirements, budget & time considerations, and your team’s development capabilities.

If you’re still unsure of the way forward, professional advice from an expert can be of immense help. 

With over 15 years of mobile app development experience, Josh Software is an industry veteran with extensive expertise in all of these app development approaches. We have helped countless businesses across the world maximize their ROIs, developing superior apps with the right technologies and development strategies.

Partner with Josh Software, and develop stellar apps that meet all your requirements.

Reach out to us to get a free consultation and know more about our wide range of capabilities.