Many factors need to be considered when developing an app, but we must first take into account our specific project goals and objectives.
Web applications do not need to be installed and can be accessed from any device, native applications are developed for specific devices, while hybrid or multi-platform apps are a mixture of the previous two, that is, they adapt to the device and make use of web technologies.
A common app development mistake
When we talk about “apps” we usually refer to mobile applications but we should not forget the classic computer applications – which we would normally call “desktop applications” – that can also be developed with both techniques: native or hybrid/cross-platform. Some popular examples of desktop applications are the Notepad, the Calculator, and the internet browser itself (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc).
If you are reading this post, you may want to know which solution would be best for your next project. No problem. We’ll help you choose.
What is a web app?
A web app is an application that uses web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS) and is accessible via internet browsers. It has a design similar to a mobile application and is usually responsive, that is, it adapts to the resolution and screen size of the device from which it gets opened.
It doesn’t depend on the operating system, feature which is known as ‘cross-platform‘, although it may have minor appearance variations depending on the browser in which it gets displayed. It doesn’t require any installation, but it does need an internet connection to be accessed since the app is hosted on a remote server.
How to develop a web app
Several frameworks greatly facilitate the development of applications of this type, such as Angular, React, or Vue. Each one has its advantages, so the choice of one or the other depends on the project scope and its development, among other things.
It is an ideal type of application for custom app development that can get accessed from any browser. A clear example of this type of applications would be BrightByte, a decentralized online reputation system that uses Blockchain and smart contracts.
What is a native mobile app?
A native mobile app is an app built for a specific mobile operating system, such as Android or iOS. It uses the tools (languages, SDKs) and aesthetics provided by the manufacturer of the operating system. This allows a personalized user experience closer to the specific design the mobile device was designed for.
A native mobile app can get installed from the specific distribution platform of each device or operating system, that is, Google Play for Android, App Store for iOS, or other specific stores such as Galaxy Store for Samsung.
How to develop a native mobile app?
A native mobile application is implemented in a specific language, for example, Java and Kotlin for Android or Objective-C and Swift for iOS. This may result in being faster and more efficient since it potentially makes more balanced use of the device’s resources.
These types of applications are perfect for mobility since they were designed specifically for smartphones or tablets. A practical example of native app development for Android and iOS would be CP Grupo app, a management tool for everything related to housing.
WhatsApp web app vs mobile app
Keep in mind that many famous brands develop apps on both web and mobile versions. A very popular case for everyone is, for example, WhatsApp, a messaging service that has different versions depending on the device on which it gets used.
What is a hybrid app? And what are PWAs?
A hybrid application, as the term suggests, together with Progressive Web Apps or PWAs are at an intermediate point between web applications and mobile apps.
They use web technologies but allow access to specific device features, such as the camera or the GPS. Their design may get adapted to that of the device in which they got installed. This way, they provide a better user experience than web applications.
What is a cross-platform app?
Cross-platform or hybrid apps are usually web applications that run in a special browser that is installed on a user’s device (commonly referred as WebView). They may be more efficient than a web application but less than a native mobile application. Besides, they can get installed from application distribution platforms.
What is a PWA?
PWAs are web applications that behave like a mobile app and allow you to create shortcuts on your device’s home screen. They can’t be considered hybrid applications since their design doesn’t adapt to the operating system and they do not need to get installed.
How to develop a PWA?
Both hybrid/cross-platform applications and PWAs can be developed using frameworks such as Ionic, based on Angular, React, or Vue, and, like web applications, they make use of web technologies.
One of the latest PWA developments that we have carried out is the Fissios App, an e-Health app that helps patients who are preparing to be or have already undergone surgery for lung ailments. A very useful health app, especially in times of COVID-19.
Web app, mobile app or cross-platform. How to choose?
Do you need more practical information? We are experts in the development of any type of apps on an international level. If you have questions about what technology would be more suitable for your specific project, do not hesitate to contact us. We will help you choose without any obligation.