When developing a mobile app, there are different possibilities to do so – native, hybrid or via web-app. But which variant is the best solution? We explain the differences, pros and cons as well as the application fields of native, hybrid and web apps. The main criteria to choose from are the purpose of the app and the available budget.

Native app as an individual solution for an operating system

A native app is the best solution when there are complex requirements to fulfil and the user should be able to use the functionalities of the mobile device as well as the familiar user interface. Native apps are so called tailor-made solutions which are installed directly on the devices. They work uniformly and error-free across all interfaces.

This results in an optimal use of available resources. Especially sophisticated and complex applications benefit from the advantages of native apps. Objective-C or Swift for iOS, Java for Android and C#/visual Basic and XAML are the native approaches.

Pros and cons of a native app

The individuality of the code requires to program an iOS app for iOS and an Android app for Android. This results in higher costs of programming and updating a mobile app.

Advantages of a native app:

  • Less bugs in development
  • Usage of device-specific functionalities like the camera, storage or GPS
  • Use the resources optimally and are safer
  • Maximum usability for users
  • Expertise of the developer specializing in the operating system promotes the continuous improvement in the quality of the app

Web app as a cheaper alternative

When the price of mobile app development plays a crucial role for, a web app is a good choice for you. The website in the form of an application is preferably built with JavaScript, CSS and HTML5. About Reach, Angular or Vue.js. you can integrate different functionalities. Web apps should work on different browsers and devices. They are therefore programmed independently from the operating system.

However, the web app interface is less comfortable than the one of native apps. After all, this is a website with native plug-ins. For many applications, however, the available options are quite enough.

Pros and cons of a web app

Without internet access, the web app is often limited in functionality. Also, the access to device-specific functionalities is often not, or only very limited possible.

Advantages of the web app:

  • the most straightforward way to develop a mobile app
  • do not require updates by users and do not need to be approved by app marketplaces
  • does not claim any resources of the terminal device
  • low development costs and less time spent
  • regardless of the operating system and browser
  • programmed for the future, conversion to a hybrid app is possible

Hybride app as a cross-platform solution

The hybride app combines the benefits of a native and a web app. It displays the content on a simplified browser – the webviewer. Hybrid apps are suitable for cross-platform solutions such as terminal devices with different operational systems. The native app serves as a so called „container” for the web app.

Due to the combination of the native app and the web app, the application can access the hardware of terminal devices.
This can be used to regulate the limitations of pure web apps. The easy-to-use hybrid app reduces development costs by up to 60 percent compared to the native app.

Building a hybrid app is done using JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

Pros and cons of hybrid apps

Like every app variant, the hybrid app also has advantages and disadvantages. Especially the reduced performance compared to purely native apps is a disadvantage.

Advantages of the hybrid app:

  • Java Script, HTML and CSS are well known to many programmers
  • Significantly reduced development and maintenance costs, since only one app for multiple operating systems is developed and maintained
  • Shortened development times
  • Many libraries, such as Ember, AngularJS or React, are included for integration into the app

Areas of application

Native apps are known for high quality. They are used for paid apps and in-app products. In principle, whenever the user expects a powerful and reliable application with high usability.

For low demands on the performance of an application, the hybrid app can be a good choice. However, most users of these apps already make high demands on the usual user interface of their device. You should take this into account when deciding.

The web app is always the first choice when favorable development costs are clearly in the foreground. Even if the applications are not to be installed on a terminal device. For example, web apps are suitable for booking flights, renting vehicles and similar applications. Often the web app is the beta test for the hybrid or native app.

A special app kit, which is available for all operating systems, makes it easier for you to develop a mobile app.