Choose the best - Native Apps vs Hybrid Apps vs Native Apps using Flutter for Mobile

November 21, 2018

Depending on your business goals and requirements, the decision to build your mobile app as either native or hybrid or using Flutter, could make or break the success of your mobile project. There are variety of factors you need to consider. Here are the key considerations.

What is a Native Application?

A native application is a software / program which performs some specific task on a particular platform. A native application is built using software development tools (SDK) for a certain software framework, hardware platform or operating system. For example, a native Android app is built using Java Development Kit on a Java platform, a native iOS app is built using iOS SDK, Swift and Objective C. Similarly, .NET is required for a Windows platform.

Pros:

  • Native apps are very fast and responsive because they are built for that specific platform
  • They have the best performance
  • They are distributed in app stores
  • They are more interactive, intuitive and run much smoother in terms of user input and output
  • Native allows developers to access the full feature set of their given platform with whatever performance optimizations the native system has
  • Internet connection is not required, although it depends on the functionality
  • Overall better user experience. To the user, the flow is more natural as they have specific UI standards for each platform

Cons:

  • Difficult languages to learn which means you need experienced developers
  • More expensive
  • Not the best option (overkill) for very simple apps

What is a Hybrid Application?

Hybrid apps work across platforms and behave like native apps. A hybrid app is essentially a combination of a native app and a web app. Users can install it on their device like a native app but it is actually a web app. These types of apps are built with Javascript, HTML, and CSS and run in Webview.

10 best frameworks for mobile hybrid apps:

  1. Xamarin
  2. Phonegap
  3. Ionic
  4. NativeScript
  5. React Native
  6. Intel SDK
  7. Framework7
  8. Appcelerator Titanium
  9. Mobile Angular UI
  10. Onsen UI

Pros:

  • Built on web technology HTML/ CSS/ Javascript so it’s much easier to build
  • Cheaper than a native app
  • One app for all platforms using technology like Cordova
  • No browser needed as opposed to a web app
  • Have access to the device’s internal APIs, can access storage, camera, etc.
  • Faster to develop than native apps because you have a single code base.

Cons:

  • Slower than native apps
  • More expensive than standard web apps because you have to work with the wrapper. Essentially you’re dependent on a third party platform
  • Less interactive than native apps
  • Some advanced customization requirements will take you away from the hybrid model, in which you may as well go native
 

What is Flutter?

Flutter is Google’s modern development kit designed to build mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Google Fuchsia, a new platform that’s being developed by Google.

Pros:

  • Hot Reload
  • Perfect for MVP (minimum viable product)
  • Cross Platform Development (Single Codebase)
  • Less Code
  • Faster Development
  • Readily available widgets
  • Official support, as it is backed by Google.
  • Access to Native Features
  • Easy to Set Up

Cons:

  • The APK/IPA of a Flutter app will almost always be considerably larger than that of a native app. 
  • Currently, Flutter doesn’t have a WebView widget. So, you can’t embed a WebView in your app’s view hierarchy.
  • It doesn’t have a graphic UI editor like the design editor in Android Studio or Storyboard editor in Xcode.   

 

Native vs. Hybrid vs. Native Apps in Flutter- Which Approach Is Best?

The decision to build either a native, or hybrid mobile app, or native apps using Flutter, should be based on your business objectives. Before jumping into development, you should consider the following factors:
  • How fast you need the app
  • The quality of the user experience you want your app to have
  • The complexity of the features you need for your app to work
  • Your Budget
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