Native mobile app development essentially means building apps that run on specific devices and platforms. Native apps can be built for smartphones, smart TVs, desktops and other popular platforms. Unlike other non-native apps, i.e. web apps and hybrid apps, native apps don’t run on a browser but need to be downloaded from OS-specific app stores such as App Store and Google Play
Native mobile app development requires different skills and tools as compared to other apps. Native app developers don’t need to worry about browser and device compatibility, because native apps are built for the specific native features of a mobile OS.
Native vs Hybrid apps
Native apps, however, have to be built in platform-specific languages like Java, Swift, or Objective-C. Unlike hybrid apps, native apps can easily access a smartphone’s inherent features like the mic and the camera, whereas hybrid apps require a Cordova plugin to do the same. In order to render the UI, hybrid apps need Web Views, which are in-app allowing mobile apps to access and display web content. When we’re talking about native vs hybrid apps, there is no clear winner but native apps probably score a little more because they integrate seamlessly with mobile devices. To get a clearer picture, let’s consider the benefits of native mobile app development.
Benefits of native mobile app development
- Efficient performance
Native mobile apps work fast and smoothly because they directly communicate with native APIs and don’t require any plugins or Web Views. With fewer dependencies, native mobile apps work faster and are more responsive than hybrid apps. For apps that are heavy on images or for gaming apps, native is the way to go.
- Consistent look and feel
It is obvious that native apps use software development kits so their visual elements will match that of the native platform being used. From the user experience perspective, this is a huge plus point because they find a familiar UI that is easy to use and navigate.
- Instant access to features
Native apps have the inherent ability to access the latest IOS or Android features, unlike hybrid apps who need to use middleware and plugin in order to access native APIs.
- Development efficiency
React JS requires less development time but delivers high-quality code that modular, clean and comes as a separate component, thus boosting developer productivity.
- Better compliance
A very important advantage that saves developer time and effort is that native mobile apps are better able to meet app store guidelines and hence comply easily with specific guidelines. In fact, since 2017, Apple has been rejecting apps that use too many Web Views from being uploaded to its App Store. Even in the future, app stores are likely to increase rules and restrictions for hybrid apps.
- Better Security
Since hybrid apps use different browsers and underlying technologies, there are a lot of points that are vulnerable from the security perspective, Native apps, however, ensure data protection and are much more secure.
- Interactive And Intuitive
Native mobile apps look and feel like an integrated part of a mobile device be it Android or IOS, and thus are more intuitive and easier to communicate with because they adhere to proper native guidelines and match the user experience to the look and feel of the OS.
- Lesser Bugs and Errors
For mobile app developers, it is not easy to manage two different apps in one code base, which can result in problems. In the case of native mobile app development, there are lesser chances of any bugs occurring because developers are not depending on cross-platform development tools like Xamarin or Cordova. Hybrid apps need to use a bridge to access hardware thus adding to the development time and impacting the user experience. This problem takes on magnitude when you consider that app developers have to stay updated with newer OS versions of Android and iOS. Native app developers can easily enhance existing apps to align with the new versions and add in new features.
- Native apps for Android
Native mobile app development for Android can be done using Java, Kotlin, and C++. Google offers developers advanced Android development tools like Firebase, Jetpack and Android SDK. In addition to Google’s in-house tools, developers can use several third-party solutions for Android native mobile app development.
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- Native apps for IOS
Developers can create native apps for iOS using Objective-C or Swift. Note that in the case of IOS native app development, Apple has an exclusive closed source code meant just for Apple hardware and devices. Apple offers several tools for IOS native mobile app development including IOS SDK, TestFlight, Swift and XCode. Interestingly, IOS has some very good third-party developer tools like Code Runner and AppCode.