Mobile applications in 2018: Why go native?
Development of any mobile application is all about making informed decisions. One of the most important factors to consider in creating a really powerful solution is choosing the right development method. Many entrepreneurs struggle when trying to decide on a native or hybrid application.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the benefits of native apps. These apps are part of most people’s everyday lives (think Instagram or Skype.) The choice to go native when developing a mobile application has been gaining traction over the years.
Is native right for you? Well, that really depends on your specific project. Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits of going native.
What are native apps?
Native apps are created with a specific platform in mind, either iOS or Android. When creating a native app, developers stick to the particular operating system’s guidelines in order to provide the best user experience.
If you’re developing an app for iOS, you’ll likely do it on Objective-C or Swift. For Android, you’ll probably use Java or Kotlin.
How native apps work
Native applications are built for a particular device, so they need complete access to all the hardware and functionality. Data associated with the app is saved on the device, although it can be stored and accessed remotely by the native app.
Apple and Google both offer app developers their own standardized SDK, or software development kit, that contains a set of tools, libraries, documentation, and code samples to build successful products.
To achieve all software engineering goals, Apple provides XCode, and Google offers Android Studio. This allows any professional developer to create a native application relatively easily.
The benefits of native
Let’s dive in and take a look at the key benefits of developing native applications.
Fast and responsive
In our attempt to push our apps to do more, we're running into a common problem - performance. And i t’s no secret that non-native apps can’t compete here.
Logically, apps that were created and optimized for a particular platform can be really high-performing solutions. Given that users’ demands for mobile app performance are extremely high today, developers are constantly working on things like battery and memory consumption in order to achieve remarkable results.
Another reason native apps are so responsive is the code itself. It is written in the platform-specific language natively and supported by the platform, which makes integrating new features much faster.
Native mobile apps can function even if there’s no Internet connectivity. Web apps work only when you’re online. So if you have a limited connection - say in the subway, on an airplane, etc. - a native mobile app will always be available.
Mobile app security is an absolute necessity today. Fortunately, native app development guarantees users reliable data protection. The main reason for this due to more effective security and performance upgrades provided by the platform itself. Native apps make the most of the hardware and benefit from easier implementation of two-factor authentication, certificate pinning, and built-in security features like TouchID.
Great UI and UX experiences are another reason to opt for a native app. From this perspective, native development has an undeniable advantage as it allows you to keep the design at a high level and deliver a great experience to all users. With native applications, it’s far easier to tailor functionality to one platform that has its own elements, design language, and set gestures.
Easy to add new features
With native apps, you can create your own APIs if the existing ones don’t do everything you need.
Challenges to developing native apps
While there are a lot of situations where native apps really shine, there are also a few challenges to consider.
Native development takes longer
iOS applications will not run on Android and vice versa, so you will need to work with different sets of codes. This will inevitably result in a longer development process as it’s the same as coding for two different apps. Consequently, if you need apps for both platforms as quickly as possible, you should consider cross-platform development.
Another thing to consider is the longer downloading process of native apps. Users must download native apps from Google Play or the Apple App Store, accept terms and conditions, and then complete the installation.
If a bug was fixed or a new update was introduced, developers have to submit updates to the app store and then wait for users to download the new version. Unfortunately, users are quite slow to upgrade from older versions which means software engineers must also continue to support older operating systems.
So, will a native approach make or break the success of your project? It really depends on your ultimate goal and development timeline. I f you’re looking for a high-performance software solution that will capture the imagination of a first-time user, you should definitely go native.
Still hesitating? We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons! If you want to build a mobile app, contact us today. We’ll help you decide which type of app is perfect for your project. Let’s collaborate!