a native, hybrid or web app? Mobile development

Suppose you have an idea for a mobile application. What do you need to bear in mind? You have an idea and a target audience in mind. But how do you get that idea onto the phones of your target audience? How much will it cost you and how long will it take before you see the result?

The answers to the above questions can vary greatly depending on the solution you choose. You can opt for a native, hybrid or web approach, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Native mobile phone apps

The mobile landscape has been dominated by Android and iOS devices for many years. Together they account for up to 98% of mobile visitors. If you want to reach your target audience, you need to make sure that your app works on these two platforms. This is where native development comes in.

In simple terms, native development means that you develop an application using the development tools and language available for a particular device or platform. This makes native applications applications in their purest form. They perform well and follow the (design) standards of the platform, even when the operating system is updated to the latest version. And, of course, they have access to all the features of the phone. Standards and performance are essential to the user experience. In short, you can say that a native application will give you the best results. But that's not all.

Because each platform is programmed in a different language (Objective-C or Swift for iOS and Java for Android applications), you have to rewrite the same app for each platform. Obviously, this is not very efficient and can significantly increase costs.

App Stores

Native apps can be downloaded from the various app stores. But before you can download them, you have to get them in. If you want to get an Android app into the Google Play Store, it's pretty quick and easy. But if you want to offer an app for download on the Apple App Store, it can take some time to get it approved. There's a lot of work to do to get it approved.

Web apps

From a technical point of view, a web app is simply a website that is opened through your browser. The great thing about it is that all devices can open it, so you can easily reach a very large audience. If you make a web app responsive, users with tablets, laptops, desktops, etc. will be able to get the most out of your app. What's more, users don't need to keep the application up to date via the App Store: every time someone visits the website, the latest version is automatically loaded. So you only need to build the app once, and updates are handled centrally.

Unlike native and hybrid apps, web apps are not available in the various app stores. This makes installation virtually impossible and you miss out on the promotion and other benefits of the stores. On the other hand, the advantage is that you can skip the whole app store process.

Hybride apps

As the name suggests, a hybrid app is a cross between a native app and a web app. In simple terms, this means that you build an application using web app technologies and then add a middle layer to give the code a native look and feel. As a result, hybrid apps can be installed via an app store just like native apps, and need to be submitted and updated in a similar way. But they only have one code base, so you don't have to rebuild the app for every platform. The middle tier also gives you access to all the native components of the phone. The best of both worlds.