Native Apps Vs Hybrid Apps Vs Web Apps, what are the Differences?


  In this tutorial, we are going to compare web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps, also we will talk about the differences and finally the advantages and disadvantages of web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps.

  1. Web Apps / Mobile Websites

  A web app is an application that the user does not download and instead accesses via a web browser over a network. Example web browsers include Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. Web apps provide functionality from bank account access to YouTube video viewing via, for example, Safari on an iPhone. Read More here

- Web applications or mobile websites are built using standard web technologies including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

They run inside of a standard web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.

They are built like a regular website or web app. Designed to look good on mobile devices.


Advantages of Web App

  1. Easy to build (HTML/CSS/JS).
  2. Easy to maintain. They are easy to host and maintain, simply upload to a whole hosting account with a domain.
  3. Use any technology/language. You can use any web technology like laravel app or python whatever you want you don’t have any limitations in that aspect.
  4. Cheaper than native and hybrid apps, like hiring a web developer is much cheaper than hiring a Swift programmer.
  5. Single app for all platforms. The app is going to run on any device like iOS, Android and Blackberry, and Windows phones it will run as loner as you have a web browser.


Web App Disadvantages

  1. Need to run in a browser. The user has to actually go into a Safari or Chrome or Firefox on a phone or PC and type the URL of the app, this is a really poor user experience.
  2. Slower than native apps. The reason is native apps are created for that specific device they are optimized to run on that device.
  3. Less interactive and less intuitive. Buttons don’t have the same type of interactive effect as a native app does.
  4. No icon on the desktop.
  5. Cannot be submitted to app stores.
  6. Cannot interact with device utilities. Cannot access features like camera.


  1. Native Apps

  Native apps are written to a specific device, a majority of web applications can be written in JavaScript, CSS, and the standard version of HTML for universal use across various browsers. Web apps can use a single code base because they are not designed around a specific device. Web apps are fast and simple to build but are not as versatile and quick as native apps.

  A native application is the most common type of mobile app, when you search the App Store and you download an application it’s most likely native, however hybrid apps are growing in popularity and these can be added to the Apps Store as well.

Built for specific platforms. The android app is coded in Java and it uses the SDK for that platform. Also, iOS is written in Swift or sometimes objectives -C and it is written for the iOS platform.


Native App Advantages

  1.  Very fast, that is because they are built for that specific platforms
  2. Distributed in app stores whether it is Apple Store, Google Play, or the Windows Store.
  3. Interactive and intuitive, things run smoother as far as user input and output.
  4. Interact with device utilities, like camera and location.


Native App Disadvantages

  1. Single platform. Android app only works on Android phones, Swift app work only on the iOS phone.
  2. Harder language to learn. Swift and Java are much harder to learn than JavaScript and HTML and CSS and even back-end web stacks Swift and Java are just much more intricate.
  3. Very expensive.  Developers for these languages are very expensive.
  4. Hard to maintain.


  1. Hybrid App

  Hybrid applications are a combination of native and web apps. The inner workings of a hybrid application are similar to a web app, but it installs like a native app. Hybrid applications have access to internal device APIs, which means they can use resources such as the camera, storage, and GPS. Yelp and Instagram are examples of hybrid apps.

- Combination of native and web apps. 

- Use HTML/CSS/ JavaScript.

Ran inside of a container/web view usually through a framework.


Hybrid App Advantages

  1. Easy to build -HTML/ CSS/ JavaScript, this makes it much easier to build. Other frameworks you can use are ionic and angular.
  2. Much cheaper than a native app. Hiring a hybrid developer is cheaper than a native developer like a Swift developer.
  3. Single app for all platforms. If you use a technology like Cordova, PhoneGap is like a wrapper for hybrid apps. You can use one code base for that same application for iOS and Android.
  4. No browser needed. Since hybrid apps run in a web view there is no browser needed like with a web app. They can be published on all App Stores; they can be installed exactly in the same way as a native app.
  5. Can usually access devices utilities using API. Can access features like camera and geolocations.
  6. Faster to develop than a native app, this is because you can use single code-based for iOS and Android.


Hybrid App Disadvantages

  1. Slower than native apps, like I said native apps are specifically built for a certain platform.
  2. More expensive than web apps and less expensive than native apps.
  3. Less interactive than native apps.


4th Type: React Native /Xamarin

Xamarin is a cross-platform software development tool used for native app development on iOS and Android and other platforms that rely on C# as a programming language. The reactive native app is very close to native apps in terms of performance.

- The essential native app is built using JavaScript.

- Compiles into actual native components.

- UI is rendered using actual native views.

- Not as many plugins to interact with devices.



Unless you have an unlimited resource of funds and highly experienced programmers, I would suggest going hybrid or web-based native.

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