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Hybrid vs Native App vs. Cross-Platform Development: How to Choose the Right Approach?

Hybrid vs Native App vs. Cross-Platform Development: How to Choose the Right Approach?

Hybrid vs. native app vs. cross-platform is a comparison leaving many wondering what is best for their next project. These days, releasing an iOS app or Android app is no longer about the need to hit both platforms at the same time or about having to find a less time-consuming solution. Companies like Clubhouse have proven that you can grow an audience and scale your product even when some of your prospective customers are still waiting for the release.

Sounds nuts, right? But, in reality, it is much more important these days to introduce a product that works perfectly for a single platform only rather than a poorly functioning cross-platform app.

The growing market of mobile apps has set a high bar for new releases. The UX has to be perfect, and navigation has to be intuitive – that’s before we even start talking about main functionality. 

However, when taking the first steps towards developing a mobile app for your business, which path should you pursue: cross-platform, native apps, or hybrid approach?

There are a few primary advantages of cross-platform development: with cross-platform, you only have to build one product for both iOS and Android platforms with one codebase. 

Although testing is still equally required on both platforms, this approach might save you a bit more time on development. This can be done within just one code base, meaning you don’t test less, but there’s definitely less debugging logic involved. Also, cross-platform may result in a cheaper outcome in terms of budget, but don’t let that fact trick you. 

Yes, it is cheaper. However, it may not be so affordable when it comes to adapting the app to operational systems. Specifically, keep in mind that you might have to fix the UI, which can fail to adapt to both iOS and Android from the beginning. This means that your developer will probably have to insert custom patches and make revisions to ensure the system operates perfectly on each platform. These additional patches may affect the overall schedule and development, eventually causing budget constraints. 

With cross-platform, you only have to build one product for both iOS and Android platforms with one codebase. But don’t let that fact trick you. 

Besides all of these custom inserts, puzzling the system can make it more burdensome and complex than what is actually needed.  It’s also important to keep in mind that this task can be completed in five minutes using native mobile apps. So, is it worth it?

In between the cross-platform and native approaches stands hybrid development. As with cross-platform, hybrid application development is specific.

First, when we talk about the advantages, with hybrid development, you can mix and match, creating the core as a cross-platform, and you can add native modules. This way, you’ll have stand-alone native-based modules with functionality linked to a cross-platform-based app. Conversely, it works the other way: with native core functionality on top of a cross-platform interface. 

It may sound like taking the best of both worlds, but, in reality, this approach requires a deep understanding of the mobile app’s internal structure and architecture. Even if you have no experience, you might end up with a “Frankenstein app” that is too difficult and time-consuming to be supported due to segmented modules.

With hybrid app development you might end up with a “Frankenstein app” that is too difficult and time-consuming to be supported due to segmented modules.

If your app development choice falls on a hybrid model, make sure to start your project with an experienced team, not those who are just novices to this type of development, but those who have completed real projects. As a team with extensive experience in hybrid mobile app development, we can definitely say that hybrid is no joke.

Also, when it comes to cross-platform, the UI can often look alien, which makes the whole app user experience much more undesirable. Hybrid apps are often used as ‘apps for businesses’ that survive both informational and notification purposes. But, if you need something more complex, like animation or high-interface speed, native can be your best option.

Native development comes with a lot of benefits, as well as a few well-known stereotypes.

Native mobile app development is thought to require more time. Well, native isn’t new, so if you’re partnering up with an experienced team of mobile app developers who know how to build native apps, the timeline will correlate with cross-platform or any other type.

The trick is, when you’re building a cross-platform app, it seems like you’re being efficient by creating two apps at once. But it’s important to keep in mind that the amount of testing required to make sure both apps function and have a chance to work is significant. The process of adapting native applications to different platforms operates much more easily with the same amount of testing.

The urge to hit both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with two apps is definitely baseless and excessive. Moreover, big names with even bigger releases have proven that. If the first native application is flawless, if it perfectly does what it’s been made for, the audience can wait until an app for their platform is released. Native app development provides much more confidence in building great UI, and you won’t have to hire a developer who knows it all, just a good, trustworthy native developer. Plus, native apps handle big chunks of data much better.

From the developer’s perspective, native app development is the best choice if you’ve decided to release a good product with a great user experience and interface. Yet, if you have strong reasons to develop a cross-platform app for your business, like a necessity to support multiple platforms at the same time, or if you haven’t found the ‘right’ native app developer for your project, cross-platform app development is a good option for you. Also, in some cases, we recommend a cross-platform app as a fast MVP option. Just keep in mind that for this type of development, you’ll have to sacrifice two of the most crucial aspects: quality and interface speed load. 

Native provides much more confidence in building great UI, plus, you won’t have to hire a developer who knows it all.

Long story short, estimate all pros and cons of each mobile application development type before jumping into the project. Make sure to collect a few options from development companies to make a well-balanced decision. And always remember to think through the app’s architecture beforehand so you’ll get a masterpiece at the end.

Don’t stop exploring Diffco blog! Here’s what we recommend reading next:

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