While you run the course of your app development journey, there will come a time when you will have to ask yourself if the app you’re looking to build will be better as a native app or a web app. Both types of apps have their advantages and disadvantages and are each better suited to different types of scenarios. Of course, the decision to make a web app or a native app depends on a number of factors, and hopefully, in this article, we will help you arrive at that decision by weighing the pros and cons of each type of app.
Kodework is a global leader in web and app development, based in Norway with offshore development studios in India. Our designers use these guides on a regular basis to deliver stunning apps that are intuitive, engaging, and functional. If you find this article informative, then check out our Comprehensive Guide To Mobile App Design.
The difference between Web Apps and Native Apps
The simplest differentiator between a native app and a web app is that the former can work offline, while the latter always needs an internet connection. Since a web app works through a browser and sources all its information from the domain where it is hosted, it is not possible to run a web app without a dedicated internet connection. On the plus side though, web apps are extremely small and occupy very little space on a device.
Native apps on the other hand store and cache its user data on the device. Not only does this mean that the app can work offline, but in most cases, it is also more secure since all the user data is stored locally. This, however, can have an adverse effect on the user’s device by taking up a lot of space on the internal memory. In fact the more complex the app, the more space it takes up. A good example of this is the Facebook app which occupies a lot of space since it needs to cache a lot of data in order to load and function fast. There are workarounds for apps like this, for instance, WhatsApp, that backs up user data, and uploads it to a cloud storage account in order to occupy less memory on the user’s device.
The Advantages and disadvantages of a Web App
When thinking about whether to develop a web app, here are some advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind.
- Easy to maintain
- Inexpensive to build
- Don’t adhere to operating system protocols
- They don’t require marketplace or app store approval
- They can be released at any time and in any format
- Updates do not need to be pushed through the app store
- Web apps cannot leverage device hardware
- A user needs to go through more steps to search for a page or access a URL which can complicate the UX
- Web apps are slower and less responsive compared to native apps
- They are less interactive and less intuitive
- Web apps allow fewer branding opportunities
The Advantages and disadvantages of a Native App
Alternatively, if you are considering developing a native app, here are some advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind.
- Native apps receive strong support from app stores marketplaces
- Native apps are interactive and run smoothly
- They allow developers access to a full feature set
- The UX of native apps is superior to hybrid or web apps
- Native apps deliver great performance in all development approaches
- Native apps can be very costly and time-consuming to develop
- Native apps make use of complex programming languages
- Their expenses are costly and upfront as compared to web apps
- They are not the best option for simpler applications
We hope that this article has helped you understand the difference between web apps and native apps, and hopefully make a more informed decision. To know more about mobile app development, check out our Comprehensive Guide To Mobile App Design. On the other hand, if you’re looking to develop an app, then get in touch with the team at Kodework.