Technology

February 24, 2021

Understanding hybrid and native app development

At first, we had Native apps and web apps, but as of today developers around the world have found a way to mix those two and bring out great experiences for users.

I’ve been hearing a lot about hybrid and native app development and I thought it would be interesting to talk about them from a toned down tech perspective, as I’m not a software developer I think I can bring myself to explain what they are, how they work and why we are hearing more and more about hybrid app implementation.

Nowadays a lot of popular apps like Uber and Instagram have entered the hybrid realm, which makes sense because the user is expected to be online when using those services, but that’s not the only reason behind it, let’s see what makes an app native or hybrid and try to understand why we are seeing these changes.

native app

Native app

When we talk about a native app, we are talking about an application that has been developed specifically with an operating system in mind, the two most popular in the mobile world being iOS and Android. What this means is that while developing the app we took into consideration the device’s hardware and software, so the app can be toned specifically according to the device limitations. As Android is available in a huge variety of devices, it’s important that the app itself is able to identify the device’s hardware in order to perform at the best way possible, iOS has a way smaller device catalog but it works the same way.

Something that native applications are known for is that they work as intended even without an online connection. Games and apps that you can use on your phone without using data or wi-fi are native applications, as they don’t depend on having a connection to work and you can enjoy almost 100% of the features without having the need to go online on your device.

Because these apps are specifically tailored to be used on your device, the general user experience should be better than a hybrid app, and by this I don’t mean only the interface but also performance-wise, these apps will run faster and bring you a smoother experience overall. By having developers dedicated to each platform, native apps are expected to have great performance and take full advantage of the device's capabilities.

hybrid app

Hybrid app

A hybrid application doesn’t mean the app isn’t completely native, it’s more of a combination of native and web-based technology. Think about an application that you can access on any browser but these apps can actually be installed on your device, deleting the middle-man that is the browser. One of the biggest differences from a native app is that hybrid applications won’t have all their features available offline, while the app won’t be useless offline, it will need an internet connection to do most of its work or to enjoy most of its features, think of instagram without internet, you may be able to open the app and probably see some older posts, but it will not update without help from an online network.

These applications have become very convenient because they don’t need specific development for each platform, and they work with a single base of code, meaning that corrections and improvements can be done in a single go and be live on all the platforms that it was designed for in one deployment.

As you may imagine by now, hybrid apps are very cost-effective because you won’t need specific developers for two or three different platforms, instead of having experts in different programming languages that are specific for one platform you can find web developers that will be able to provide a hybrid app that will work on all platforms utilizing one master code.

native app

Conclusion

As technology moves on, we’ve been getting more and better implementations of hybrid app development. At first we had Native apps and web apps, but as of today developers around the world have found a way to mix those two and bring out great experiences for users, and make their job a little easier, hence the birth of Hybrid applications.

Still, a lot of companies do prefer native app development over hybrids for security, performance and user experience reasons. It's well known in the industry that a hybrid is not the perfect solution for everyone and it depends on the end goals of the product or service.

It’s very understandable that applications that were designed for the user to be online by nature are either completely hybrid right now, or making the change, big social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter expect the user to be online the moment they open the app, so for them making the switch is completely understandable, but as we talked about, not all apps are made with this mindset and it’s important to know what’s the goal of your end product before making a huge decision like selecting the correct app approach.

Are you not sure about which one is better for your product or service? interested in getting to know what’s your best way to approach the market? You can contact us here as ArkusNexus not only develops amazing software for you, we are well known for being a complete technology partner and we’ll make sure to set you up with the right tech leadership for you to impact the market in the best possible way.

Case Study from Arkusnexus
Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo works as a webmaster and content manager for the ArkusNexus marketing team. Proud dad and fighting game aficionado.
rsaldana@arkusnexus.com
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