Choosing the right mobile application development type is crucial to the success of the mobile app. However, most businesses often get confused on which mobile application type to choose. Choosing the right mobile application type demands the same or even more attention for every platform. There are three types of Mobile app development types: Native, Web-Hybrid and Native-Hybrid.
To help businesses in choosing the appropriate mobile app development type, we explain the differences between all three types.
Differentiating Mobile Application Development Types
All three types of mobile application development types are meant for a specific purpose or business use case. While there are many mobile application development trends, to provide a contextual understanding of the various mobile application development types we consider a few important parameters and evaluate the capacities of each mobile development type under each parameter.
Key Parameters to be Evaluated
- Hardware Features Access
- Debugging and Profiling Tools
- Development Support Ecosystem
- Development Cost
- Development Time
- Ease of Finding Developers
- Ease of Deployment to Multiple Platforms
- Build Size
Native App Mobile Application Development
- Performance: Robust performance due to native execution of code.
- Hardware features Access: Fast as there is no abstraction. APIs can be accessed on the first day.
- Debugging and Profiling Tools: Excellent tools for debugging platform and logic issues; Excellent profiling tools to understand CPU, Memory, Battery and Network usage.
- Development Support Ecosystem: Excellent support from platform owners including documentation, best practices; Huge community who has worked on all features.
- Development Cost: Native devs are more expensive; Will need devs for each platform separately.
- Development Time: Will have to write separate code for each platform widespread availability of libraries for most functionalities; will have to write wiring logic from scratch because there are less frameworks for development.
- Ease of Finding Developers: Native developers are the most widely available.
- Ease of Deployment to Multiple Platform: Will need separate devs and write from scratch.
- Build Size: Usually the leanest possible code and resources.
Web-Hybrid Development Mobile Application Development
- Performance: Runs code on webview, which executes slower due to abstraction, takes up more memory and CPU. As more functionalities are added, navigation becomes clunkier.
- Hardware Features Access: Slower and less efficient access due to layers of abstraction; Will have to wait for or develop plugins for accessing new hardware features.
- Debugging and Profiling Tools: Mostly web-development based tools are used to debug and profile; which might not bring out platform related issues as easily.
- Development Support Ecosystem: Mostly open source community so some issues remain open for a long time and there might not be a solution so one might have to write a new module; smaller community around the platform.
- Development Cost: Mostly reusable code for multiple platforms, but sometimes one might need to write their own plugins to access features less used by others.
- Development Time: Most code works across platforms; Opinionated frameworks are used for development which usually means less decisions to make and more standard ways of developing. Community developed modules are available for most functionalities.
- Ease of Finding Developers: Technology (HTML, CSS, JS) is easy to find; but actual hybrid developers are slightly harder to find. However, the skill is easy to develop.
- Ease of Deployment to Multiple Platform: Most functionality works on other platforms; but will often need custom code for each platform for UI or platform specific functionality.
- Build Size: Builds are slightly bloated with multiple files that are carried over from web development paradigms. Usually files to support other platforms gets included in the final build.
Native-Hybrid Mobile Application Development
- Performance: Performance is comparable to Native, due to native execution of code.
- Hardware Features Access: All APIs available to Native will be available. But there is more dependency on the Framework maintainer update for it to become available.
- Debugging and Profiling Tools: Solid tools are available in the common language framework for regular debugging. But will have to depend on Native debugging for individual platforms or complex issues.
- Development Support Ecosystem: Solid support will be available from the Framework maintainers and community. In addition, one can piggy-back on Native documentation support for complex issues.
- Development Cost: Native-Hybrid development is slightly more expensive than native, due to obvious advantages of the platform, and the need to know the common language as well as intricacies of each OS.
- Development Time: Most code works across platforms; quality is usually very good due to better compile-time checks, debugging and profiling tools, etc.
- Ease of Finding Developers: Developers are usually harder to find, at least in the current market. Knowledge of common language as well as intricacies of the OS they’ll be working with is not very common.
- Ease of Deployment to Multiple Platform: Most functionality works on other platforms; but will often need custom code for each platform of UI or platform specific functionality.
- Build Size: Usually bloated compared to a native build, and amount of bloating varies depending on the framework used. Using Xamarin, for example makes the builds quite heavy.