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Native vs HTML5 vs Hybrid Apps

 

  • Native apps are specific to a given mobile platform (iOS or Android) using the development tools and language that the respective platform supports (e.g., Xcode and Objective-C with iOS, Eclipse and Java with Android). Native apps look and perform the best.
  • HTML5 apps use standard web technologies—typically HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. This write-once-run-anywhere approach to mobile development creates cross-platform mobile applications that work on multiple devices. While developers can create sophisticated apps with HTML5 and JavaScript alone, some vital limitations remain at the time of this writing, specifically session management, secure offline storage, and access to native device functionality (camera, calendar, geolocation, etc.)
  • Hybrid apps make it possible to embed HTML5 apps inside a thin native container, combining the best (and worst) elements of native and HTML5 apps

 

Conclusion

Mobile development is a constantly moving target. Every six months, there’s a new mobile operating system, with unique features only accessible with native APIs. The containers bring those to hybrid apps soon thereafter, with the web making tremendous leaps every few years. Based on current technology, one of the scenarios examined in this article is bound to suit your needs. Let’s sum those up in the following table:

 

Native HTML5 Hybrid
App Features
Graphics Native APIs HTML, Canvas, SVG HTML, Canvas, SVG
Performance Fast Slow Slow
Native look and feel Native Emulated Emulated
Distribution Appstore Web Appstore
Device Access
Camera Yes No Yes
Notifications Yes No Yes
Contacts, calendar Yes No Yes
Offline storage Secure file storage Shared SQL Secure file system, shared SQL
Geolocation Yes Yes Yes
Gestures
Swipe Yes Yes Yes
Pinch, spread Yes No Yes
Connectivity Online and offline Mostly online Online and offline
Development skills ObjectiveC, Java HTML5, CSS, Javascript HTML5, CSS, Javascript