Being new to IT field and lacking the experience of running startups can cause you to think that a cheaper solution is the best of all possible ways. No doubt, sometimes it works, but at Cleveroad, we strongly believe that quality is what you need to aim for, no matter how much it's worth you.
Judging from the title of our article, you must have already guessed that todays topic is native app development's advantages. Join us for reading to ensure that our approach is right!
7 reasons why you need to go native
Preface or a few words about user experience
A recently conducted research says that only 16% of the audience give an application more than two attempts if it's failed to work at the first time, 79% of consumers will likely retry the same app only once or twice. In other words, you may never have the third chance to impress your customer. It's a fact that a poor mobile application experience may discourage users from using an app again. To get success in application development business, you need to follow one simple rule always strive for your applications perfect operation from the very beginning. Of course, a dozen of bugs after the first release is a usual thing, but a dozen of bugs is nothing compared to the entire applications poor operation.
What does it mean the native or hybrid application?
By native we understand the application which designed specifically for one platform while the hybrid application is the one built in a way to be suitable for all platforms at once.
Roughly speaking, the native application is thought to be a separate product (no connection to a website) running on your mobile device. Whereas, the hybrid application, is a wrapper for an existing website; something like it's continuation conveniently enclosed into a mobile application frame. People sometimes prefer hybrid apps to native ones because of their universality, little time consumption, and relative cheapness. In fact, the hybrid application fails to be a good choice in some cases and several reasons below prove that.
Reason #1 Development process
It's pretty obvious that a few separate teams would be needed to develop a standalone application for each platform. Not only do developers need to be focused on one subject, but also this approach helps to develop a different version of an application simultaneously.
Going native implies interaction with different platforms throughout the entire development process. When developing a native application, developers are welcome to use all thinkable and unthinkable tools to create a product. Platforms have special guidelines to facilitate the development process, they collaborate with third parties, whose services sometimes are needed, and have open-source APIs and code extracts on their official sites. Shortly speaking, they make a developers life easier. As a result, we have several versions of the application perfectly suiting each of chosen platforms. But this rule is true for native applications only since hybrid development process is completely different.
About integrated development systems. In the case you develop a native mobile application, the situation with IDE is pretty clear. Android Studio is used by Android developers, iOS developers are provided with XCode, Windows Phone developers are welcome to use Visual Studio, etc. Each version of the application will be written in a specific programming language, such as Java, Objective-C or Swift, and C# respectively. But what about hybrid application IDEs?
When developing with Xamarin, an application code is written in C# which is then compiled into the native code to run on multiple platforms.
The first thought coming to your mind may be like, Wow, thats great if I can build one universal app and run it everywhere. It has sense because it's cheaper! Well, we cant blame you for such inferences because it's partly true. The next reason shows why partly.
Reason #2 Device features
Being developed in a mature environment, the end version of a native application complies with OS technical and user guidelines, such as predefined gestures, swipes, a header position (centered for iOS, left-aligned for Android), etc., which provides a faster performance, because users have already taken to an operation system rules. Even if your application is complex, users can intuitively perceive how to use it.
Besides, with the native application a user has a quicker access to inbuilt mobile application utilities (think GPS, camera, reminders, calendar, etc.). It doesnt mean that a hybrid application wont be able to use these utilities, it just means that the responsiveness will be much lower and the integration process may be more difficult (since at the stage of integration two different languages will cooperate).
Reason #3 Speed
Giants like LinkedIn and Facebook that first had invested in HTML5 regretted having done so later. Now we can see people use their standalone native applications. Thats a well-known fact that native applications work faster, theyre more responsive and gives a better user experience. Hybrid applications are web pages in a native browser (UIWebView iOS, webView Android). Because hybrid application depends on these native browsers, it can make them not as fast as native ones, which are independent.
A quick application reacting is what makes it desirable.
Reason #4 Type of an app
Talk about the application complexity, sometimes hybrid applications can be a better solution (see, we love them too). For example, youre an owner of a gear shop, you don't want your users to make purchases on a mobile application (because of all these difficulties with payment gateways and so forth) but you want to give them an opportunity to browse through the goods. In other words, you want to create a digital catalog looking like a mobile application, like Zara, Massimo Dutti, and other popular apparel brands. In this case, it will be good to create a hybrid application. You can make your choice in favor of the hybrid app if youre going to launch any non-complex application. They may be simple planners, dictionaries, newspapers, magazines, or something like these.
On the other hand, if you intend to develop a messenger, game, planner (like Evernote), or online shop providing a cart and payment method, you will need to go native.
Reason #5 Maintenance
Of course, hybrid applications are easily maintained. As you remember, theyre like web pages inserted into a native container. So you can update content as many times as you want.
Maintaining a native application is a bit more complex because a newer version of an app needs to be released. On the other hand, users can be easily informed about the latest update. Moreover, native apps upload the most of the content on installation. Your messenger or game doesnt need to be constantly updated, unlike the mobile magazine or shop which are supposed to be hybrid applications. Again, everything depends on an app type.
Reason #6 Offline functioning
If there is no connectivity, then going native is the best option for you. Games, organizers, planners and ever navigators can work offline because their content has already been downloaded. In HTML5, the in-browser caching is supported but youre still not as free as with a native app.
Reason #7 Cost
Maybe the most important thing for an entrepreneur, developer, or both at once. Judging from all the above, you can draw the conclusion that a native application will be a bit more expensive than a hybrid one; that you have a limited budget and youd better spend it on promotion. Yes, theres no need to lie, the first type will cost more. If you recall the statistics fact (if not, go to the beginning), then you realize how the good user experience, provided by native applications, is important. What were driving at, since native applications require more time and effort to be developed, theyre usually advised to be paid, whereas hybrid applications are usually released to be free. So in the end, you can make a profit of your great native application. We proudly state that a native application will pay your way!
As a result, your application can be creepy and unattractive. Professionals tend to believe that there is no deserving way to create complex cross-platform applications yet. Likely, progress never stops and who knows maybe one day we will see a hybrid app development method surpass it's native fellow.
I guess thats it for now. It was nice to deal with you. CUL!
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Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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