Native vs Hybrid Mobile App Development

Native vs Hybrid Mobile App Development is something that is debated between programmers, some are die hard native developers and others are all about hybrid apps. Rarely though do we explore the two sides to Native vs Hybrid, the choice between the two is not just for us as developers but also for the companies and startups that are looking to hire developers to create apps. Here is my opinion on Native vs Hybrid.

For Developers

For us as developers we are given a choice between writing an app natively using Java/Kotlin for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS or using an external framework or sdk to develop hybrid apps. When hybrid app frameworks came on to the scene they did not really threaten native applications because they were generally web views of a web application, phonegap comes to mind.

Now a days though with advanced hybrid frameworks such as Corona SDK, and React Native, hybrid native seems very appealing. Being able to write and support a single codebase and compile to multiple platforms has multiple advantages. But there are also disadvantages, because these frameworks are not native some features might be lacking or will need native access via some sort of API which then will require you to write in the native language anyway.

Another issue with hybrid apps is file size, because you are using a hybrid framework there are a lot of dependencies that are compiled into you app making it larger that it would be if written natively. I dont think these are deal breakers though and there is always a workaround. When it comes to hybrid I think its best used if you are a freelancer and need to complete projects quickly or do not need all native features. There is a large market for native apps, and a lot of the popular apps are created natively, sure having to write the same app for multiple platforms does not sound ideal but writing native apps give you access to all features and office support by the platform.

 

For Companies and Start-ups

If you are a small company or a start up and maybe have a small budget in mind then going hybrid is the way to go. You can hire a single developer to create your app for both platforms.

I do think though that if you have the budget you should definitely go native, even if you originally had your app developed using a hybrid framework you should consider converting your apps to native.

Finding native developers is a lot easier than finding hybrid developers. Hybrid frameworks are still fairly new and can be buggy. Writing native is the way to go to take full advantage of platform features and have full support from that platform you are working on.

 

In the end the choice is yours. When I work on mobile apps I generally use a Hybrid framework when developing games or entertainment apps, and go native when I develop business or network heavy apps.

 

If you are looking to develop using a hybrid framework here are my top 3 hybrid frameworks.

  1. Corona SDK
  2. Xamarin
  3. React Native