With the use of mobile devices swiftly dominating desktop, creating applications that function well on both iOS and Android phones and tablets has become the new standard. But with all these new languages and frameworks, it can become overwhelming to decide which to use. 

Here at LaunchPad, we are big fans of the cross-platform mobile framework Ionic. Building in Ionic allows us to have one code base for both iOS and Android applications, and to use the web-based technologies that we know and love: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (Angular). 

To dig deeper into the divide between native and hybrid apps, let’s start with some definitions.

What is a hybrid app? A native app?

A native app is developed for a specific operating system, such as iOS and Android. For iOS, available developing languages are Swift and Objective-C; for Android, Java or Kotlin. 

hybrid app is essentially a web app hidden behind a native shell. Platforms such as Apache Cordova allow us to wrap HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code in native code so that it can be deployed across several platforms. 

Why go hybrid?

If hybrid apps give us cross-platform functionality, why build native apps at all?

It seems like building hybrid apps solves a lot of deployment, time, and resource issues, so are there benefits to developing native apps? 

So, which should I choose?

Here at LaunchPad, we have definitely boarded the hybrid train. The Ionic framework paired with Angular suits the vast majority of our needs and the needs of our clients. Of course there are cases, such as with high-performance 3D games requiring heavy computations, that may still be more suited to native. And because hybrid frameworks are still relatively new, there might not be the technical support available that, for example, Apple makes available for Swift programmers. However, the gap is certainly closing, and the use of hybrid frameworks, paired with a deep understanding of native code, we’ve found to be a winning combination.

Interested in working with us to build a mobile app? Get in touch here.

Rachel Killackey

Developer

A love of languages led Rachel into software development, where she found computer languages to be much less confusing than human ones. After obtaining her master’s in computer science, Rachel became inspired to build web apps that would serve as a powerful and dynamic medium for communicating ideas. When she’s not coding or looking for the next linguistic puzzle to solve, Rachel enjoys boxing (poorly) and annoying her two cats.

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