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What’s the Difference Between Native vs. Hybrid Applications?

In technology, specifically software development, there’s a lot of terminology that not everyone knows. Often times at SOLTECH, we’re asked what the differences are between specific terms. For example, clients have asked us what the difference is between a native application vs. a hybrid application. Understandably, not everyone is going to know these definitions, especially if you are not a software developer. The difference between native applications vs. hybrid applications is how they’re built.

Native Application vs. Hybrid Application: Brief Overview

  • Native applications are built specifically for a platform such as iOS
  • Hybrid applications are written in HTML5 and JavaScript, then wrapped in a “container” that is native.

Let’s dive into some more detail to better help understand the differences.

What is a Native Application?

A native application is built specifically for a smartphone, developed for operating systems like iOs or Android. This typically means the application is built using coding languages such as Objective-C or Swift for iOS and Java for Android.

Native applications are almost always more favored by the user as it gives a better user experience. Features like swiping left or right and quicker performance speeds.

native application

They can connect easily to other applications on your phone like camera, contacts, Google Maps, and Facebook, making it easy to use any features built into the application.

When you download a native application, the content is also downloaded when you first install it.

This is why the application will need to be updated from time-to-time from your app store on your mobile device. These updates are to refresh or add content since the application is not constantly refreshing in the way a web application would.

What is a Hybrid Application?

Hybrid applications are a little bit trickier. They may look just like any other native application but they actually are not. Hybrid applications are built using coding languages like HTML5 and Javascript, then wrapped in what is called a “container” – which is in a native coding language.

The container is anther application that is required to run the hybrid application.

native application

When you download a hybrid application, the content is downloaded as you navigate throughout the application. It is constantly refreshing and downloading.

Ultimately, the hybrid application runs and looks just like a native application but it’s not. It’s simply made to look that way.

These applications are almost always less expensive to build and quicker to do so, which makes them a popular choice, but not always for the right reasons.

Native applications typically run smoother and give a better user experience. They’re also easy to search for in app stores on mobile devices, making them more downloadable.

To decide which is better to use will be solely based on what the application is you are building.

There is no right or wrong answer, only points to consider when developing either.

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