The pros and cons of Native vs HTML5 app development

Native Apps or HTML5 - which is best?

The pros and cons of Native vs HTML5 app development

When considering developing a mobile application for your business there are a number of options available. Depending on your requirements you may decide to go for a Native application or an HTML5 web application.

What are native apps?

Native applications are developed to run directly on the mobile device. They are created to run on a specific operating system such as Android or iOS. These application can access all of the capabilities of the mobile device and generally have the best performance.

What are the benefits of native apps?
  • Available through marketplaces such as iTunes store and Google Play store.
  • Can be monetised directly through these platforms.
  • Allow for richer user experience and best performance.
  • Can be used offline.
  • Push notifications.
What are the drawbacks of native apps?
  • Need to be developed separately for each operating system.
  • Updates need to be deployed through app stores and this can take a long time.
  • Additional cost for support and maintenance on each platform.
  • Apps need to be approved.
  • More expensive to develop.

What are HTML5 apps?

HTML5 apps are essentially single page application websites that are optimised to be used in mobile browsers. They are written in HTML, Javascript and CSS and are hosted on external servers.

What are the benefits of HTML5 apps?
  • Single codebase for all users on all devices regardless of hardware or network.
  • Much faster time to market and iteration period.
  • Updates pushed instantly to all users.
  • No app store approval process.
  • Cheaper to develop.
What are the disadvantages HTML5 apps?
  • Reduced monetizing options.
  • Discovery through app store search not possible.
  • Needs extensive testing and optimisation for different devices, operating systems and browsers.
  • No push notifications.

Hybrid HTML5 applications

Additionally HTML5 apps can be packaged as native apps and submitted to app stores. This creates a more persistent application that can leverage more of the mobile device's functionality. However the performance is not on par with a native application. The main benefit is that  one HTML5 application can be developed and deployed to both Android and iOS.


Author

Przemek Sargeant on Tuesday, 21 March 2017

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