Mobile App Development

When it comes to mobile app development, the big three of development approaches are as follows: native, hybrid, and cross-platform. All three approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the decision to choose which approach to use is contingent on the five factors that will be discussed in this article.

Before diving into those factors, it’s a good idea to have a basic overview of all three approaches.

1. Native

Native app development refers to using platform-specific programming languages, software development kits, and other tools to create an app. Creating the same native app for Android and iOS would require entirely different codebases and tools from scratch, without reusing any of the assets used in each.

This approach makes for greater complexity in development, but it allows developers to maximize the hardware-related features unique to each platform.

2. Hybrid

Hybrid app development blends web elements with mobile functionality. The process starts with creating a codebase using web elements, such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and wrapping it in a native container, such as the WebView. Because it is using web elements, the codebase can be reused across platforms.

This approach is a lighter option compared to native and is favored by clients who want to prioritize getting to the market than the performance and user experience.

3. Cross-platform

Like with hybrid development, cross-platform development allows for code-sharing—but that’s where the similarities end. Instead of using web elements, cross-platform apps are developed using a native rendering engine. The codebase is written in Javascript, and it links to the engine through bridges.

Its performance is closer to native development, but the development time is typically slower than the hybrid’s timeframe.

Which app development approach should I use?

There are many reasons why you would choose one over the other two. Before settling on one approach, consider these four factors:

1. Functionality

Some complex features are just impossible to execute with HTML, CSS, or Javascript alone. If you want access to the device hardware and support for third-party applications, you’ll want to stick with native app development.

That being said, if you only need simple features, like that for a blog or news reader app, you may get away with using hybrid or cross-platform development.

2. Time Before Launch

If you have less than three months to market and want to be available on all platforms all at once, then hybrid app development is the best way to go. However, you will have to lower your expectations when it comes to features and performance.

If you have a little bit more time and want better performance, then going for a cross-platform approach would be optimal. However, should you have at least five to six months to burn and have a really good team of developers, then going native is the best option.

3. Budget

Having more money to spend means that you can go for a native approach and hire two teams of developers to make the same app for iOS and Android simultaneously. That being said, having a bigger budget doesn’t always mean that you should take this approach.

Most of the time, other factors, such as functionality and time, can be just as important in your decision making.

4. UI and UX

Statista reports that in 2018, one in three people abandoned and uninstalled mobile apps within minutes of first using them. When it comes to the user experience, natively developed apps are king. These apps are much more refined with better scrolling, dynamic animations, and the like.

If you can’t go for native development, the next best choice for an excellent UI would be a cross-platform approach.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to mobile app development, as crucial as it is to find the best approach, the biggest challenge is in finding the right team of developers that can do the job! Instead of going through the hiring process yourself, you can entrust your project to experienced mobile app developers—like us here at Uncut Lab. We won’t just develop a great mobile app for you; we’ll advise you with the best approach to take for the best results!

Are you looking for a reliable partner to help you with mobile app development? Uncut Lab is a group of distinguished engineers and talented designers based in Boston, Massachusetts that can help you with your product development needs! Aside from handling mobile apps, we also do web development, product design, and code analysis. Contact us today to learn more about our services.



I am the Uncut Lab resident cloud computing junkie. I help curate the written content in our Education Corner, providing engaging articles on foundational concepts in cloud computing, data analytics, machine learning, and blockchain technology. Feel free to reach out to me with questions or topics that you would like us to cover. Thanks!

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