When should you use hybrid mobile apps and when should you go native? Learn about the difference and which is best for your mobile app development.
If you’re coming from a web or hybrid development background, you may also find Nic Raboy’s guide for Upgrading Hybrid Apps to Native with NativeScript helpful, as it compares and contrasts web and native user interface implementations.
When we talk about leveraging mobile app development tooling and services such as those provided with Telerik Platform by Progress, your choices become much more succinct:
When you use the Telerik Platform, you don't need a Mac nor do you need to manage proprietary SDKs. You gain access to best-of-breed simulation, debugging, and mobile services like push notifications, LiveSync, app store publishing, and much more.
A hybrid mobile app looks, feels, and acts like a native app (most of the time... see below). It can also interact with native device functions like geolocation, camera, contacts, and so on. Any gaps in accessing native features can usually be filled with a variety of Cordova plugins.
Sounds pretty good, right? Let's look at some more detailed strengths and weaknesses of hybrid:
A native mobile app is an app that runs natively on your device with truly native UI elements. Unlike a hybrid app, a native app does not sacrifice performance because, well, it's running natively on the device! There is no WebView getting in the way on native. A native app also has full access to every API available on each platform it runs on (so there isn't necessarily the need to use plugins to fill any gaps, though they can help).
When we talk about native, we think the best and easiest way for you to go native is by using our free and open source framework called NativeScript.
Again, sounds good right? Let's again look at some more detailed strengths and weaknesses of native:
THIS is the key question, isn't it? If you know that you want to develop a mobile app AND you know now that you have choices AND you also know that the Telerik Platform supports both methods, what do you do? Here are some common issues we hear people talking about when choosing between hybrid and native development:
Performance is critical for me—my customers will drop my app if it doesn't feel right! If performance is key (and it usually is), then going native with NativeScript is a great way to start.
I want to future-proof my app. I can't wait for someone else to write a plugin or update a framework. Staying up to date with the latest mobile platforms is critical, which is why NativeScript provides zero day support for all new OS releases and API updates.
I need to create a Windows Phone version of my app! As of today, Windows Phone is only supported with hybrid (although the NativeScript team is working on it).
Set up a free trial for the Telerik Platform today. Once you start your trial, we provide you with an instantly-available development experience with numerous step-by-step quick start tutorials for both hybrid and native. Best of luck with your app development!
Rob Lauer is Senior Manager of Developer Relations at Progress and has a passion for mobile app development and the open web. In his other life he raises two kids, plays Ultimate Frisbee, and (for better or worse) is an avid Wisconsin Badger fan. Rob is @RobLauer on Twitter.