Mobile App Development isn’t just about codes + coffee combined to make an app. There are underlying components to analyze: a long array of screen sizes, hardware specifications, platforms, users/audience and user interface (UI). Developers must also consider different software development life cycles (SDLC) for faster and quality deployment.
With that in mind, choosing between a native and a hybrid app is very often not an easy task, especially if you’re still in the learning process. There is no straight answer, it all depends on your skills, the client’s needs/requirements, timeframe, and budget.
NATIVE MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT
Building native apps means using the predefined programming language of the platform and IDE’s. For iOS, we usually use Swift with Xcode and for Android, we use Java with Android Studio. Although there are third party IDEs (e.g. Eclipse, IntelliJ) that utilize Java, developing these kinds of apps will take time since you need to develop two versions if you’re targeting for Android and iOS platforms.
Great performance – Machine codes compile native apps, which gives the best performance you could get from the device, as well as full access to the phone hardware, and latest APIs.
Better UX – Android and iOS have their differences and standards especially when it comes to user interface.
Built-in capabilities – Access into the device’s functionalities, such as camera, microphone, contacts, GPS etc. is a breeze. While hybrid apps have limited access to them and sometimes it’s not what you really wanted to be.
Cost – Maintaining two separate app version could be a difficult job and will take twice the space needed for the repository compared to one.
Workforce/More developers – native app development needs more developers, depending on the client’s requests, device compatibility, platform and complexity of the app.
HYBRID MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT
Cheaper – Since the developer doesn’t have to create two separate version for Android and iOS, development time would be much faster.
Lower requirements – Developing hybrid apps only needs a single language to learn. Xamarin is a good alternative that utilizes C# with a native look and feel of development. There is no need to learn iOS and Android specific languages.
Device limitations/lack of native features – some built-in features are only available natively. Even though there are tons of libraries being offered, you will still seek for something that really suits your needs and can only be achieved using native development.
Efficiency / Performance – hybrid apps are usually slower and less refined since when compiling hybrid app they use wrappers that will translate your code to the native counterpart of it.