Hybrid or Native? The Inconclusive Debateby@reuben154
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Hybrid or Native? The Inconclusive Debate

by Reuben MenezesAugust 26th, 2020
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The best way to build apps is to use the same language as Apple's iOS and Android. The two are very different in terms of how they work together and how they are used to work together. The difference between the two is the ability to work with a single app that is built for the same purpose as an iOS or Android version of the app. If you want to build a new app, you need to make sure it is ready to work around the world with the latest version of your app.
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Every Computer Science major has had this debate with their mates. Usually, such conversations constitute both Native and Hybrid app developers bringing very strong points on the table, until all of them just give up on convincing the other, and just go ahead with the app development themselves. 

That's pretty much the best way to enter the debate, both Hybrid and Native have their own Pros and their own cons and with every passing day these two parallel lines seem to somehow take one step closer to intersecting each other

It is very essential at this point in time to understand the difference between these two types of apps :

Native App: A native app is a smartphone application developed specifically for a particular mobile OS (think Objective-C or Swift for iOS vs. Java for Android and C# for Windows).

Hybrid App: hybrid apps are built using open web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. That means anyone with a modern web developer skill-set can begin building an app using the hybrid approach.

Hybrid apps run in a full-screen browser, called a webview, that is invisible to the user. Users can access the native features of specific mobile devices (such as the camera or touch ID) through customizable native plugins without the core code being tied to that device.

Let’s say you are in the Black Mirror Interactive episode codenamed Bandersnatch and you have to choose either to the two approaches for app development, lets see how the episode would go on if you choose the Hybrid app and what you should expect. Don't worry we’ll later run through what happens if you choose Native app and see how that storyline pans out

If you chose to proceed with the Hybrid App you probably understand that in every business time is of the utmost essence, you would need to get your Minimum Viable Product out in the market in the least timeframe while making sure the cost of the product is optimized.

These are the definite advantages you would have by choosing this approach

1. Speed of delivery of Product is maximized

Building for multiple platforms from a single codebase often makes delivering cross-platform apps 2–3x faster than native. Imagine a set of developers creating the app for different OS simultaneously using the same codebase.

2. Efficiency

Reduced development times, and the avoided costs of hiring and retaining specialized native talent, can save teams 60% or more compared to native.

Furthermore, it’s a cumbersome process to hire and utilize Native developers since they are very rare due to the supply and demand ratio, as a lot of companies worldwide choose to go ahead with hybrid apps as it suffices their business criteria. According to the survey by Stack Overflow, only 8% of the entire world’s developers are skilled in Swift(for IOS).

3. Design & UX consistency

With one codebase running on desktop, mobile, and web, hybrid apps provide consistency on the UI/ UX across channels.

4. Skillset

Hybrid gives web developers and businesses with in-house web teams the tools to build powerful mobile apps using their existing skills and talent.

Now let's go back to the last checkpoint at Bandersnatch and choose the Native App approach, this is how the story would pan out :

This is what you should expect:

1. Performance

The Native App will no doubt be better in performance than any Hybrid App, that is something universal which everyone agrees with. The native app also tends to “Feel Right” to the user. You would know exactly what I am talking about if you have ever used both an Android Device and an IOS device, there is a subtle difference in both(Keeping apart functionality and Application) when you build an App specifically for an IOS or an Android you tend to get the feel right and make the experience more at home for the user. 

Having said that, most users don't even realize this difference because the difference in “Feel” the native app would bring vs the Hybrid app brings would be very subtle.

In the year 2020 when users tend to have a good internet connection the performance advantage of Native Apps also tend to not be as valuable in comparison to Hybrid Apps as the difference in speed of the App is not really highlighted.

2. Broad Range of Functionality 

Native Apps can use a wider range of specific OS based functionalities that Hybrid Apps would miss out on.

Now, How do you choose between the two of them? The only way to decide is by asking the right questions.

If you are looking to build the app as soon as possible at the lowest cost as possible while making sure the performance of the app is just great but not the best that the app can offer, a Hybrid app is the one to go with.

But there is no doubt Native Apps are a higher investment but in terms of performance, it would surpass the Hybrid Apps.

Facebook started off with a Hybrid App but then later on moved on to React Native(We’ll talk about React Native in the next article) and Mark did mention how the user feedback improved significantly post the update.

Truth be told your end-user does not care if the App is a Native one or a Hybrid, your end-user is only interested in a seamless app experience that can created by both the frameworks. So as long as you ensure a minimal app load time, great UI and an intuitive UX you should be solid.

Citations :

Software Developer Statistics 2020: How Many Software Engineers Are in the US and in the World?
According to Evans Data Corporation , in 2018 there were 23.9 million software developers in the world. In 2019, this…