Native or Web apps? A Quick Primer
What you should know before taking the plunge. A recent study reported what many of us already know, we have entered into what is being referred to as a Mobile revolution. By 2016, according to Forrester, there will be 1Billion smartphone and tablet users. That’s billion, with a B. What does that mean for businesses who have not yet taken the plunge? The time is now. But, where to start? Inevitably, businesses must start by deciding between native or web apps.
What is a native app? What is a web app? What’s the difference?
Native apps are apps designed to run on one device’s operating system. Hence, native apps developed for iOS will work only on iPhone or iPads. Apps developed natively for the Android operating system will work only on devices running that operating system. Web apps are designed to work in a browser and will be viewable from any web-enabled mobile device.
What are the pros and cons of each?
Understand your customers
It’s always a good idea to check your analytics before you take the plunge into mobile development. Understanding how your users are accessing your site and from what devices can help you to make a decision on what’s best for them and ultimately, your business.
Know your budget
Like any other development project that is outsourced, mobile development can be pricey. Set your budget and have real conversations with your engineer or development firm on the cost of development. Make sure that you understand what you are getting for your money and try to stick to the scope.
If you’ve got budget concerns, then you might be tempted to consider a web app. However, if you’ve decided on one platform and have the analytics to back it up, consider a native application. If you’re looking for a development agency, make sure you are up to speed on outsourcing mobile development.
What about security?
It is believed that native apps offer more security than web apps because they do not need to interact with a network and can handle information locally. However, it is important to note that mobile devices by and large offer less security than pc’s and desktops.
What about hybrids?
The popularity of develop once port to multiple platforms is hard to ignore. Appecelerator, PhoneGap and Sencha are just a few frameworks that offer this convenience. They allow developers to sidestep native development altogether and utilize a unique framework to create apps which them compile natively for each platform. Purists will tell you that these frameworks create horrible code. But, they have their fans. Mostly, using these platforms will depend on your feature set and just how complicated your app is. If you app more complicated, I would recommend native development. Also, if budget is a huge concern, consider one of the above.
Whether you go native or web, it is important that you enter the mobile market now. With an estimated $1.3 trillion of mobile spending estimated and an app market worth $55 billion, can your business afford to miss the mobile revolution? Eventually, all of your customers will be mobile, its important that you meet them where they are, too.