Want to develop a mobile project? You have two options: a native application or a web application.
Even if you know absolutely nothing about IT development, this is an important choice, as it determines your strategic positioning and the organization of your mobile site. So it’s best to understand the differences as early as possible 🙂
Native application vs. mobile web application
A native application is software developed to meet the technical specifications of the device (iOS, Android or Windows) and which is installed directly on the device. Native applications are mainly downloaded from app stores, but it is now possible to distribute native applications outside of the stores.
A web application is a classic website, lightened and optimized for a mobile display (reduced in size and made tactile, if possible). Today, they are mainly created in HTML5 to take advantage of the latest technological advances.
The main advantage of the web application is accessibility: the user consults it directly from a website. The user can move around on different sites and BAM! discover the web application without encountering any break along the journey.
The native app has some constraints: the user must download it to their device, first going to an app store. But there’s an advantage as well: after downloading, the app can be consulted even when the smartphone or tablet is offline.
The native application is always faster and more responsive than the web application. Why? It is directly developed in the native language of each platform (iOS, Android or Windows) and not in the HTML5 standard. It allows the app to access specific functions on the phone or tablet (directory, camera, GPS…), which is impossible from a web application.
In terms of ergonomics, the native application runs in fullscreen and has its own interface. The web app is run through a browser, and it is not always possible to hide the navigation elements (such as the address bar at the top).
When we talk about apps, we often think of the App Store and Google Play. This is why native applications tend to be more easily located!
Nevertheless, up until now web apps benefited from powerful search engine rankings, the preferred source of traffic. But be aware of the fact that the App Store Optimization (ASO) has revolutionized this trend by allowing for the integration of application content in Google’s SEO.
And importantly, only the native application can be monetized.
Between web and native, the web application often benefits from the simplicity of updates. In terms of manual development, updates and any form of maintenance for a native application can become a real headache in terms of organization and budget. But with PandaSuite, you are the developer of your cross-platform application and updates are instantaneous!
The strength of native apps lies in push notifications: these messages are sent directly to the users, alerting them to updates and making it possible to show off new features.
The development of a web application is generally cheaper than that of a native application in terms of the technologies used and the time required. This, of course, doesn’t take into account PandaSuite, which allows you to develop native iOS, Android, and HTML5 apps without any code and on a very affordable budget.
On the planning side, the native application often requires a submission to the App Store and Google Play, a process that is sometimes expensive and time-consuming for developers.
With PandaSuite, it is as easy and affordable to create a native application as it is to create a web application.
The real questions to ask when making your choice are:
- Performance: how important is execution speed and user experience within your application?
- Accessibility: Do you want your application to be accessible offline? Or should it be directly accessible from a website?
- Features: Do you want to use native features (such as a smartphone camera, etc.)?
- Marketing: How do you want to promote your application?
- Monetization: Do you want to monetize your app in the future?
The native vs. web debate is a classic. As with any good debate, it’s unlikely that there will one day be a definitive answer: the fluidity of native and the simplicity of HTML respond to different issues, and they’re thus difficult to reconcile 🙂