How to choose between a web native and hybrid application to publish 06.05
Software Development

How to choose between a web, native and hybrid application?

date: 6 May 2021
reading time: 9 min

As regards developing a new application, there are three key types of solutions to choose from: native, web and hybrid. Selecting the most suitable option is a crucial part of the software development process. See how to choose wisely to reach long-term business goals and create a great user experience.

Defining the trio: what are web, native, and hybrid apps?

Native, hybrid and web apps represent distinct categories of applications, each characterised by its unique development approach and functionality.

  • Web Apps: These are essentially websites that look and feel like apps. Users access them through web browsers on either a desktop or mobile device without needing to download them from an app store. They’re convenient because they don’t take up space on your device.

  • Native Apps: Developed for a specific platform, like iOS or Android, native apps are downloaded from app stores. They’re designed to work smoothly with your device’s hardware and software, offering fast performance and a high-quality user experience.

  • Hybrid Apps: A mix of web and native apps that can be installed on your device but still run partly through a web browser. They’re like web apps but wrapped in a native app shell, allowing them to work across multiple platforms while being written just once.

Why are there so many different types of applications?

The variety of apps available today is mainly due to different factors like user needs, technology, and cost.

For example, native apps are great for using a device’s full features, like the camera, offering a rich experience. Web apps, however, are more about easy access from any device with a browser, perfect for those who value convenience.

The development process itself also influences the variety of apps. Creating native apps for different platforms like iOS and Android can be costly and time-consuming, often requiring separate development for each system. Web and hybrid apps, however, present more economical alternatives.

Another key point is internet connectivity. Web apps need it to function and stay updated, while native apps can often work offline, which is useful where internet access is spotty.

Lastly, the tech world is always changing, with new devices and user wants. This drives the creation of different kinds of apps, keeping up with the latest trends and technology.

So, the range of available applications keeps growing and changing to match the evolving digital landscape.


Differences between web apps vs. native apps

When comparing native and web apps, it’s important to understand that they cater to different needs and technical requirements.

Here’s a breakdown of their differences:


  • Web applications are built using standard web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and are accessed through a web browser.

  • Native applications are developed using platform-specific languages (Swift or Objective-C for iOS, Java or Kotlin for Android) and tools tailored specifically for the platform.


  • Web applications often have slower performance and require more data transfer compared to native apps, as they depend on the web browser and internet connection.

  • Native apps are optimised for specific platforms, offering better performance and detailed integration, even for heavy graphics.

Device Features:

  • Web applications face challenges in accessing external device features like fingerprint readers and have limited integration capabilities.

  • Native applications can fully leverage the platform’s specific features and technologies, providing a more robust experience.


  • Web applications are not distributed through app stores but are accessible universally through a web browser, while native applications are distributed through platform-specific app stores and must adhere to their guidelines.


  • Developing web applications is generally quicker and less expensive, with no need for frequent updates through an app store.

Differences between native apps vs. hybrid apps

When you face the choice of native vs hybrid app, it’s essential to understand their distinct characteristics.

Here is our comparison:

Development approach:

  • Native apps are developed specifically for one platform using platform-specific languages and tools, like iOS or Android.

  • Hybrid apps combine web technologies (like HTML, CSS, JavaScript) with native elements. They are built on a single codebase, allowing them to function across multiple platforms.


  • Hybrid apps are quicker and less expensive to develop since they use a single codebase. They can be installed like native apps but are easier to manage due to their singular codebase. They are also distributed through app stores and can run offline.


  • Hybrid mobile apps may have reduced performance compared to native apps. Achieving a native-like look and feel might require significant platform-specific modifications, increasing costs.


  • Both native and hybrid apps are distributed through app stores.

Developer Expertise:

  • Developing native apps requires knowledge of platform-specific languages and tools.

  • Hybrid app development might be more accessible to developers with a background in web or backend languages.

Differences between hybrid apps vs. progressive web apps

Progressive web apps are changing how web apps are built. They work better and offer a smoother user experience, almost like native apps.

How do they compare to hybrid apps?


  • Hybrid apps combine web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) with native app features, while Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are websites with an app-like experience.


  • Hybrid apps typically offer better performance and device feature access than PWAs, which depend more on browser capabilities and internet connection.

Device Features

  • Hybrid apps have broader access to device functionalities like camera and GPS, whereas PWAs have limited access, though this is improving.


  • Hybrid apps are distributed through app stores and must comply with their rules, while PWAs are accessible via a URL and bypass app store restrictions.


  • Developing and maintaining hybrid apps can be costlier than PWAs, which use a single codebase and standard web technologies.

When to use web app, native app or hybrid app?

Considering the front-end, we need to remember that each IT system is based on a particular way of interacting with the user. Native, web and hybrid solutions have their own benefits and challenges, but finally, reaching the best ROI is pivotal.

Choosing an option that fits the needs, it is best to answer these questions:

  • What goals (UX and business) do we want to reach by developing software?

  • Who will be using the app, and what functionalities will be crucial?

  • What benefits will the application bring to its users?

  • What possibilities does the budget give us?

When creating native, hybrid or web apps, consider long-term maintenance and scalability. Web apps are easier to update, while native apps require more structured maintenance. Hybrid apps are flexible but may have performance issues.

By carefully assessing these factors, choose the best approach for your business and users.

Most sought after backend technologies
Most sought after backend technologies
Most sought after frontend technologies
Most sought after frontend technologies

Open or closed app?

If we want to create an application accessible to mass users, UX is vital.

The popular solution here is to create a dedicated web application for desktop and a separate native mobile platform for iOS and Android. In the case of an open app, a native application would be the best choice.

If the costs are too high, a cross-platform solution is the one to consider as it also should give satisfying results.

In closed apps (enterprise applications), functionality and business values ​​are far more important than UX standards so that hybrid solutions may be the best option here.

However, some enterprise applications need to deal with very complex forms and display methods that simply cannot fit mobile screens.

We can write one main web and mobile apps containing only the most necessary data and functionalities. For example, in the insurance industry, web applications can provide full support for office workers to process claims on desktops.

At the same time, insurance agents use different mobile apps only for tasks completed outside the office.

Find out more about IT solutions tailored to Insurers’ needs:

The future of App Development: emerging trends

The app development is constantly evolving, driven by the need for innovation, enhanced user experiences, or the cutting-edge technology in software development.

Here are the exciting trends to follow in the near future:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions: AI and ML are making apps smarter. They help create personalised user experiences, predict what users might like, and automate tasks.

  • 5G Technology: The introduction of 5G will change app development. It means faster and more reliable internet, allowing developers to create more complex and engaging apps.

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR are expanding beyond gaming. They’re being used in different types of apps to provide unique user experiences.

  • Blockchain Solutions: Blockchain is gaining attention for making apps more secure and transparent. It’s especially useful for apps that need high security and trust.

  • Internet of Things (IoT) Applications: With IoT, apps can connect with various devices, leading to innovative features and smarter homes and workplaces.

  • No-Code and Low-Code App Development: No-code and low-code platforms make app development easier and faster. They allow more people to create apps without needing deep programming knowledge.

How can Future Processing help you with application development?

To make the right choice, it’s vital to understand the options. The more native and adapted to the platform the application is, the better its quality, UX, performance and rating are.

Notably, the cost is also higher. The more general the solution is, the lower the prices are, and the greater the compromises and possible limitations are. The whole spectrum of hybrid solutions offers a wide range of opportunities and helps reach a compromise.

Before you decide on any of the above options, define your requirements, analyse possibilities, and make sure you get the one you need. Contact our software experts, and let’s talk about creating the best-fitted app for your business.

With its extensive experience in software consulting and development, Future Processing can guide you through this complex process, ensuring that you choose a tailor-made solution that aligns with your business needs.

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