The Great Debate: Native Vs. Web Vs. Hybrid Apps

The Great Debate

Do you know which type of app is best for your business?

We live in a world of “There’s an app for that.” There are apps that help you balance the budget, call a cab, decide what to eat for dinner and even chase imaginary monsters around your neighborhood. But apps aren’t just for your personal life. Businesses are cashing in on the popularity of apps to not only manage their day-to-day operations but also engage customers. Yet building an app for your business is a big step, and it’s important to not only know but also understand all of your options before you take the leap.

Last week, we tried to demystify some standard programming terms, but we wanted to go a little more in depth on the topic of apps as application development is at the very heart of what we do. There are a variety of application types, and one is sure to be a good fit for your company. So what are your options when it comes to developing an app?

Native Apps
A native app is an application or program that has been developed to work on a specific device or operating system. While “native app” is most commonly used to reference an application on a mobile device, it can also mean an application built to run on a desktop (or laptop). For instance, the calculator that is bundled in with an installation of the Windows operating system is a native app. It will only work on a PC with Windows installed.

A native app is installed directly on the machine or device and will only run on operating system for which it is developed. So an application built for your Android device will not work on an Apple product unless an alternate version of the app has been built to run on iOS. Native apps may or may not require an internet connection as some are designed to store information directly on the device, while others store data remotely. But a native app can only be accessed on a device where it has been installed.

Web Apps
A web app, on the other hand, is an application that is accessed via a web browser over a network such as the Internet. It is not bound by an operating system or tied to a specific device. And while it would be easy to confuse a website and a web application, the difference is in the functionality of what is being accessed. Generally speaking, a website is informational in nature while a web application performs specific functions, storing and transmitting data, performing calculations, generating reports, etc. Unlike native apps, a web app does not need to be downloaded or stored locally to function. A web app is accessed instead via a web browser such as Chrome, Safari or Microsoft Edge and should function equally well across all browsers.

Hybrid Apps
A hybrid app is exactly what it implies – a cross between a web app and a native app. Hybrid apps utilize a native app “shell” that provides access to native platform features while displaying information that is being drawn from a web application. Without an internet connection, hybrid apps usually have limited to no functionality.

There are a number of pros and cons associated with each of the types of app development, and before you decide to pursue app development you should know which option is best suited to your company’s need.

If you’re ready to embark on the process of developing an app for your business, Spud Software is here for you. We’ll help you determine which application type best suits your company and your development needs. Just give us a call to end the great application debate for your business.