Technology is a fast moving train. Every one has to play catch up, and get themselves acquainted with the lastest technology. This trend applies to software as well.
Desktops are no longer the main targets for software solutions. Mobile devices have gotten better over time, more software is being developed on regular basis for mobile platforms.
The technologies used in building software for mobile devices have improved just like the devices themselves, and in this article we are taking a look at two mobile app types.
If you do not already know what HTML5 and native apps are, fear not, a brief explanation would be done.
HTML is known to be the most popular markup language for the web. Well, HTML5 is an improvement on regular HTML. It renders content in a way that looks wonderful on handheld devices by rendering pages more like a mobile application in a web browser.
With HTML5 mobile apps all you have to do is to write the code once and you can easily run it everywhere. 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 for you to have a native app for the iOS, Android and Windows you need to have mobile app developers writing seperate code for each of these platforms.
Native applications are built with the native language of the applications such as Java and Kotlin for android, Swift for iOS, C# for windows etc. so companies need to have the best mobile app developers they can get to work on those platforms.
Now that we have done a quick run down of what these types of applications are, let‘s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the applications.
HTML5 MOBILE APPS
Let‘s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of building HTML5 mobile apps.
1- Single source code requirement:
During HTML5 mobile app development, you don‘t have to be bothered about writing application source code for different platforms. This is because the source code written for HTML5 apps can work for different mobile platforms, making the development process easy.
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 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 goal.
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.
1- Lack of an App store:
HTML5 applications do not have app stores. This is because they do not exist in a native container to be compiled and sent to different users. This could cause a lot of drawbacks for companies, as people can‘t find your apps where they would expect to find them.
2- Less secure application:
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:
Smart phones are everywhere, and users expect the software running on their devices to be able to carryout background processes. Sadly, this is not possible with HTML5 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 etc.
NATIVE MOBILE APPS
Now, let‘s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of native mobile applications.
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- Silky user experience:
With native mobile apps, the application design and interface can be made to suite the platform‘s deafult applications 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 room for little or no vulnerability as found in HTML5 mobile applications.
4- Availability of platform APIs:
Native mobile applications also 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, making it easy for people to locate applications. Unlike HTML5 apps, native mobile apps can be on app stores, and technologies such as in-app payments can also be used in the applications.
1- Lack of 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- Need to know multi languages to building for different platforms:
Different mobile platforms require different programming languages to build mobile applications. This could be a stumbling block for companies, as more mobile app developers would be needed to complete development projects.
3- Takes more time to complete development for all platforms:
All software projects take time. It takes time to complete a single HTML5 mobile app development, then imagine how much 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 three native mobile applications from scratch. Paying mobile app developers to work on different applications requires a lot of capital. 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.
I have explained what HTML5 and native mobile apps are, and I‘m about to give my judgement on which I think is better.
However before I do that, I‘d like to chip something in. HTML5 apps can actually be built like native apps. They are known as Hybrid apps when put in a native container, and work like a native application would. Hybrid apps can be built using PhoneGap, Ionic etc.
On the other hand, cross-platform apps can also be built such that they are native and have all qualities of native apps. Cross-platform native apps can be built with React-Native, Xamarin etc.
Now that we have made that clear, let‘s go to my judgement.
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 to solve a big problem, that needs to work with great speed and performance then a native mobile app would do the job well. It is better to spend on the best mobile app developers to get the best results.
In the end, it all depends on whatever the application is needed for.