Blog Articles

HTML5 VS Native Mobile Apps

  • By Rana
  • 26-03-2018
  • Mobile App Development

Technology is a fast moving train. Everyone has to play catch up, and get themselves acquainted with the latest technology. This trend applies to mobile app development as well.

Desktops are no longer the main targets for software solutions. Mobile devices have gotten better over time, more applications are being developed on regular basis for mobile phones.

The technologies used in building software for mobile devices improved just like the devices themselves, and in this article we are taking a look at two mobile app types.

  • HTML5 mobile applications
  • Native mobile applications

If you do not already know what HTML5 and native mobile apps are, fear not, a brief explanation will follow.

 

HTML is known to be the most popular markup language for the web. Well, HTML5 is an upgrade on regular HTML. It renders content in a way that looks wonderful on handheld devices by rendering the apps pages to look like its on a web browser.

A lot of mobile devices support HTML5, and HTML5 mobile applications can run on different mobile platforms with very little changes. Just like regular HTML, mobile app development with HTML5 requires CSS and JavaScript to provide beautiful designs and interfaces.

With HTML5 mobile apps all you have to do is to write the code once and you can easily run it on any mobile operating system. Companies take advantage of this, for their mobile app development. The Gmail mobile version is a great example of a HTML5 mobile application.

 

Native applications are platform dependent unlike HTML5. Native mobile applications are built to use utilize the strengths of the platform they have been built for. This means having to develop mobile applications for iOS and Android mobile phones separately.

Native applications are built with the native language of the mobile’s operating system for example  Java and Kotlin for Android, Swift for iOS, C# for Windows Phones etc. Therefor companies need to have the best mobile app developers they can get, to work on these platforms.

 

Now that we have done a quick rundown of the difference between Native and Hybrid mobile applications. Let‘s take a look at each of their strengths and weaknesses.

 

HTML5 MOBILE APPS

Let‘s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of building HTML5 mobile apps.

 

Advantages

 

1- Single Source Code Requirement:

During HTML5 mobile application development, you don‘t have to write application source code for different platforms or in different languages. This is because the source code written for HTML5 apps can work for different mobile platforms, making the development process easier and cost less resources.

 

2- Faster Development Time:

For every software development project, time is a great factor. A lot of companies prefer HTML5 mobile app development because it helps them release the product much faster.

 

3- Cost Effective:

Mobile app development is very expensive and HTML5 helps cut down the costs by providing a cheaper solution. Imagine if a company were to build an app for iOS, Android and Windows, they would have to hire the best mobile app developers with experience in Swift, Java, C#.

However, HTML5 makes it possible to employ just one developer and still achieve the same result.

 

4- Doesn‘t Require Updates:

HTML5 applications have a centralized code, and this means they do not require updates to be pushed to every app user. When updates are made to HTML5 applications, the updates are effective for all users at the same time. This makes it more encouraging to make changes to an HTML5 app than it would be to make changes to a native app.

 

Disadvantages

 

1- Lack of an App Store:

HTML5 applications do not have app stores. This is because they do not exist in a native container like Android or iOS to be compiled and sent to different users. This could cause a lot of drawbacks for companies, as people can‘t find your mobile apps where they would expect to find them.

 

2- Security Concerns:

Caching an application helps give users great experiences, however it isn‘t quite easily done with HTML5 apps. With HTML5 applications, the cached data cannot be encrypted and this could lead to a security breach if not properly handled.

 

3- Doesn‘t run in the background:

Smartphones are everywhere, and users expect the software running on their devices to be able to carry out background processes. Unfortunately, this is not possible with HTML5 mobile applications as all transactions need to be done with the application open.

 

4- No access to platform APIs:

Since HTML5 mobile applications do not run directly on the operating systems, it should not be surprising that they may not have direct access to platform APIs. Companies planning on proceeding with HTML5 mobile app development should not expect the apps to have access to functionalities like the camera, GPS, payment  etc.

 

However, HTML5 apps can be built like native mobile apps, they are known as Hybrid apps when they are put in a native container, and they work like a native application would. Hybrid apps can be built using PhoneGap, Ionic etc.

Furthermore, cross-platform apps can also be built so that they are native and have all qualities of native apps. Cross-platform native apps can be built with React-Native, Xamarin etc.


 

NATIVE MOBILE APPS

Now, let‘s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of native mobile applications.

 

Advantages:

 

1- Great performance:

Native mobile apps always deliver great performance, this is because they take advantage of device resources. They work at lightning speed when compared to HTML5 applications, and provide quick response when in use.

 

2- Smooth User Experience:

With native mobile apps, the application design and interface can be made to suite the platform‘s default operating system and interface. HTML5 apps on the other hand would have the same design and interface on all platforms.

 

3- Better Security:

Apps give better performance when the cache technology works properly. Native mobile apps store cache in a very secure way, leaving little room for vulnerability unlike in HTML5 mobile applications.

 

4- Availability of platform APIs:

Native mobile applications also can have access to the device‘s functionality such as the camera, GPS, bluetooth, accelerometer etc. they are also able to implement push notifications, zoom and multi-touch functionalities.

 

5- Availability of an App Store:

Mobile apps are usually hosted in App stores like the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, making it easy for people to find applications, unlike HTML5 apps. Technologies such as in-app payments can also be used in the applications.

 

Disadvantages

 

1- No Cross Platform Compatibility:

This is the main advantage HTML5 apps have over native mobile apps. When trying to build apps for different platforms, different native source codes need to be written for the needed platforms.

 

2- Require Different Programming Languages and IDEs:

Native mobile app development requires different languages and different softwares to code them. These softwares are called interactive development environments and some examples are Android Studio, for you guessed it, Android and XCode for iOS development. This could be a stumbling block for companies, as more mobile app developers would be needed to complete mobile app development projects.

 

3- Needs Time:

All software projects take time. It takes time to finish developing a single HTML5 mobile app development, then you can guess how much more time it would take to complete mobile app developments for three operating systems(Android, iOS, Windows).

 

4- Cost Intensive:

Imagine the costs involved in building native mobile applications from scratch. Paying mobile app developers to work on different applications. It doesn‘t just end there, when maintenance also needs to be done it would need to be done across the different platforms requiring lots of cash.
 

OUR VERDICT

Both apps have their own advantages and purposes. If a company is considering application cost and needs a minimal app to solve a simple problem, an HTML5 app would do the job perfectly.

If a company needs an application in top shape with many features, that needs to work with great speed and performance, then a native mobile app would be best.

In the end, it all depends on what the application is needed for and the features that are needed in it.

 

At Intcore we develop both Hybrid and Native mobile applications, sign up here to get your free quota!