The past decade witnessed a monumental shift in the world of technology. The increasingly widespread use of smartphones is fast rendering PC usage redundant. As the mobile ecosystem continues to expand, businesses are feeling the need to evolve with changing consumer preferences.
In light of the same, our clients at Dynamologic Solutions often come to us with a dilemma–the choice of the right mobile app for their business. We usually find the clients to be torn between the choice of native versus the HTML5 mobile app. It’s okay if you can’t differentiate between the two. The developer jargon can sometimes be bewildering, but worry not!
For our novice clients, we yearn to deliver what our name manifests–solutions!
Simply put, a mobile app is different from a standard website, in that, the former is designed as a database driven application with a smaller display that can fit into a handheld device and has a touchscreen interface. A mobile app can be native, cross-platform or a hybrid of both. This is where the confusion sets in for most clients–how are the three different and which one should I pick for my business?
An HTML5 app is a cross-platform app that can work on any phone, regardless of its operating system, meaning ‘one size fits all’, and thus takes relatively less time and cost to develop. Another upside is the business’ ability to maintain a control over the app and be able to update it easily, as and when needed. Alternatively, both the cost and time of creating and maintaining a native app are higher, since an exclusive app needs to be built for every platform (Android, iOS, Windows etc.). Stated differently, you will need an independent developer for a native app for each platform. Also, an update to a native app begs changes across all platforms.
Think the native app is a dud? Hold your horses!
In return for the higher investment, the native app gives the user a nice, rich feel, can be viewed full screen and allows interactivity between the business and end user via device access and push notifications. An HTML5 app comparatively fails us on all three grounds. Furthermore, a native mobile app is downloadable on your phone and can be accessed with or without internet connectivity. Since it runs internally, it delivers the fastest performance. On the contrary, an HTML5 app is just an advanced, mobile version of your standard website that can only be accessed when you’re connected to the internet. Since it runs on a browser, be prepared for lags.
A third option exists which is a blend of the two above. The hybrid app, which is built in HTML5, can be added to the app store to be downloaded and installed on your device rendering it accessible both online and offline. From the development perspective, the hybrid app relatively takes less time than the native app since the same code can be used across various platforms with minor alterations. The downside is slower performance than the native app.
In case my rambling went over your head, let me revisit the discussion with a table illustration.
|#||Native App||HTML5 App||Hybrid App|
|Comparative Cost||Costly||Cost Effective||@Intermediate|
|Push Notifications||Available||Not Available||Available|
|Comparative Time||Time consuming||Time Effective||Intermediate|
|Device Access||Camera, Contacts, Calendar, Alarm, Geolocation||Geolocation||Intermediate|
|Connectivity||Both online and offline||Typically online only||Both online and offline|
|Distribution||Different App for each platform. Downloadable via app store||One app for all platforms. Runs on browser||One app with slight modifications for each platform. Downloadable via app store|
|Gestures & Feel||Swipe and pinch-spread with a rich, native feel||Only swipe with emulated feel||Swipe and pinch-spread with emulated feel|
Ultimately the answer to ‘which app suits me best?’ lies in the nature of your business, your app requirements, your target market, your budget and your time limitations. If you’re a consumer business gunning for easy discovery and distribution of your application, opt for a native app. If your business is content-related, the like of a news agency or real estate agency, with a need to make swift changes to your app and having users who inevitably have to be connected to the internet for updates, go for the HTML5 app. If your product requires use of alarm clock, calculator, flashlight or camera or you’re marketing a game, native app is the better pick. For short term, low-budgeted business ventures, the HTML5 app should suffice. Bear in mind, there’s no standard formula. Your needs ultimately drive the decision.
Dynamologic Solutions has been providing these solutions to its clients for well over six years. We are a proud and extensive team of developers, ranging from iOS to Android to HTML5, skilled in tailoring the right app to your needs. For more details, visit our Portfolio. For expert advice from our developers, get in touch with us.