Native or Web Apps: Which Should You Use for Your Project?

May 2, 2024

You might be a startup who wants to launch a new service or a business who wants to digitalize internal processes or sales processes. But one question always pops up when we want to take a step into the software development process: Should we build a native app or a web app? In order to make a confident decision, let’s explore what a native app and a web app are.

1. Native App:

A native app is a software application designed specifically for a particular operating system, like iOS for iPhones or Android for most other smartphones. These apps are downloaded from app stores like the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and installed directly on your device.

As the name suggests, a native app is software designed to run on a specific operating system, like iOS for iPhones or Android for other phones. When these apps are developed, they are hosted on a store where a user can log in and download them. It’s important to understand that any app, a piece of software developed for a particular operating system, cannot be installed on other operating systems. That means the developers of the software will have to build a separate app for any other operating system.

Some examples are:

  • Instagram
  • Yango
  • Snapchat

2. Web App:

A web app, on the other hand, is a software application designed to run within a web browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. Since the app runs directly within a browser, there’s no need to download the app to use it. As a result, it’s not bound by an operating system.

Some examples are:

  • Gmail or Outlook for email
  • Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online for creating and editing documents
  • Trello or Asana for project management
  • Many social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter

Choosing the Right Option:

Here are some factors to consider when deciding between a web app and a native app:

Go for a Web App if:

  • Your budget is tight. Development costs are generally lower.
  • You need broad reach. A web app works on any device with a browser.
  • Easy updates are crucial. Updates happen automatically on the server-side.
  • Offline functionality isn’t critical. Many web apps can function with limited offline features.

Go for a Native App if:

  • Performance is paramount. Native apps offer a faster and smoother user experience.
  • Offline functionality is essential. The app needs to work without an internet connection.
  • Device features are core to your app. You need full access to features like camera, GPS, or microphone.
  • You have a clear target platform (iOS or Android). A native app can provide a more polished and integrated experience for that specific platform.

The Final Word:

Sometimes, the best of both worlds might be the answer. Hybrid apps combine elements of web apps and native apps. They’re built with web technologies but packaged as native apps, offering a balance between features and accessibility.

Ultimately, the choice between a web app and a native app depends on your specific project requirements and goals. Consider the factors above and choose the option that best suits your needs.