Why you should (or shouldn’t) use React Native


React Native is a powerful platform for building cross-platform apps that have the native look and feel users love, though it can struggle with CPU-intensive tasks.

Perfect cross-platform development is a hot topic in the software world. It’s essentially El Dorado: everyone argues about whether it really exists, and if anyone were to discover it they’d be rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Hybrid solutions are closer than ever- but they still can’t compare to the performance and reliability of native apps.

Enter React Native, a relative newcomer that aims to live up to the “write once, run everywhere” promise. React Native apps are native apps, just built using a different toolset, and their popularity is booming with developers and businesses alike.

Of course, while React Native is an incredible and promising tool it isn’t the long-awaited “map to El Dorado”. There are still limitations when it’s held up against native apps.

Read on to explore the power of React Native, find out where its limitations lie, and decide where it fits in a modern enterprise technology stack.

What is React Native?

React Native is a framework for building natively-rendered mobile apps using ReactJS, a JavaScript code library developed and maintained by Facebook.

The framework’s main selling point is its ability to create cross-platform apps that provide a much better user experience than the current hybrid options on the market, closer to that of native apps.

The Case For React Native

React Native takes a different approach than other hybrid and mobile web models. Instead of trying to simulate native performance, it takes actual native user interface (UI) building blocks and assembles them with React’s special brand of JavaScript.

Because these are the same building blocks iOS and Android use, React Native apps render like native apps. They have the same native look and feel device loyalists expect.

Developers have the option to write and embed custom native code, as well as writing in a mixture of native and React to get the exact function desired while maintaining the native appearance.

Native rendering is a huge benefit. Besides the obvious boost to user experience, it gives React Native a host of additional perks.

Cross-platform development

With React Native, one codebase runs on iOS, Windows, and Android. Only a small portion of the app needs to be customized for each operating system. It provides faster, more reliable performance than hybrid or web apps, too.

Development Speed 

In theory developers build their code once, in JavaScript, and React Native takes care of creating platform-specific versions. In reality the translation between operating systems isn’t perfect, but there’s still a huge chunk of the codebase shared between platforms.

That cuts development time for an app by as much as half while still supporting multiple platforms. If there’s already a web app, much of that code can be used with React Native to trim development timelines even more.

Developer productivity

React Native is a dynamic toolset with a lot of productivity features, like integrated components that provide “shortcuts” to common tasks. The framework also uses hot reloading, so developers don’t have to recompile the entire app every time they make a change.

Besides playing a role in React Native’s fast development speed, these features create an enjoyable, productive developer experience. Cutting out unnecessary interruptions helps developers stay engaged, which leads to better end products.


There are clear savings in both time and money when one app can be repurposed to cover all devices. There are fewer overall development costs and a lower up-front investment. Maintaining one code base lowers long-term maintenance expenses.

Even when the additional code to tailor the app for each operating system is considered, there’s much less work involved than in building multiple independent native apps. Plus, more efficient development means that the single React Native app is done sooner than comparable apps.

Add in the shorter time to market (and the ability to begin working towards ROI) and it’s easy to see how the savings add up.

The Case Against React Native

There’s a strong argument to be made that React Native comes closer to mimicking native apps that any of its current competitors. The idea to use natively-rendered components is an innovative approach with a lot of promise.

However, there are tradeoffs involved in making it work that mean React Native apps still fall short of native ones. Here are the major issues critics have with the framework:


The number one drawback to React Native is performance. It is better than other hybrid tools and web apps, but there’s no getting around the large overhead framework that slows down performance when measured against native apps.

For straightforward, simple apps and proof-of-concept work, the reduction in performance isn’t noticeable enough to have a huge impact. Using React Native for anything more complex could mean taking a hit to user experience.

“Reusable” codebase

As mentioned earlier, the “write once, use anywhere” motto isn’t entirely accurate. Developers have to configure the app for each platform. The size of that extra bit of code depends on the app’s function and the relevant operating system (some are more React-friendly than others).

In practice anywhere from 60-90% of the codebase can be fully shared. Although this still cuts development time by a significant amount, it does mean React Native isn’t a perfect platform-agnostic solution.


React Native apps are bigger than native apps. This has a few unfortunate side effects. Users with older or economy model devices might not be able to handle it.

Those in developing markets often don’t have reliable access to 3G networks, so downloading large apps takes too much time. Finally, customers don’t like to use all their device storage on apps.

They might not download a large app, and when they start to run out of room for photos larger apps are the first to get deleted. Good developers have a few tricks for reducing the size of a React Native app, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

Quality Assurance Issues 

Debugging React Native gets complicated. Apps can be made with a mixture of custom native code, third party plug-ins, and regular React Native components.

It takes experience to navigate the app when tracking down the source of a problem.

Growing pains

The downside of being new and innovative is that React Native still has maturing to do. Facebook is actively tweaking and updating in response to user feedback, but they tend to be slow to update the software development kits (SDKs) when Android or Apple does.

Also worth mentioning is that as a younger tool, the documentation isn’t as user-friendly as it could be. It varies between highly dense in some places and too loose to be helpful in others.

That’s something that will ease over time, but right now it can be a hassle. New third-party libraries springing up are a mixed blessing: they offer more options for shortcuts but can introduce vulnerabilities into an app if they aren’t vetted carefully.

Exploring Alternatives

Looking at alternatives is a useful way to define a project’s priorities and decide whether React Native is the best fit. Here’s how it stack up against other formats:

  • Native apps: Native apps are the only practical option for graphics- and processing-intensive apps. They outperform every other type of app on the market. It takes time and money to build native apps, though, and most enterprise apps don’t need that level of performance to be successful.
  • Hybrid apps: Hybrid apps are essentially web apps with a native “wrapper”. They have the same advantages as React Native when it comes to development speed and cost savings. However, most hybrid apps can’t fully access device hardware, and their UIs don’t have a native feel.
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWA): PWAs operate within a browser. They can be given the feel of a native app and even can access some device features with the user’s permission. Their biggest draw is that users don’t need to download anything before use. On the flip side, PWAs don’t have full device access and use battery faster than other app formats. Without an app store presence they suffer in mobile search rankings, too.


Making the Call

When used for an app that plays to its strengths, React Native is a serious force-multiplier. It enables faster development, more responsive update cycles, and that all important “native UI” feel that consumers respond to.

It’s simple to build a basic, flexible app and scale it as usage grows. A lot of major players (besides Facebook and Instagram) use React Native in their apps, including:

  • Walmart
  • Airbnb
  • Wix
  • UberEATS
  • Soundcloud
  • Skype

Used outside its strengths, however, React Native adds an unnecessary layer of complexity. Developers unfamiliar with it can wind up with a large, convoluted, hard to manage codebase.

It isn’t well-suited to CPU-intensive apps, either. Trying to substitute React Native where a truly native app is needed leads to performance issues and the resulting degraded user experience. (It should be noted that a growing number of lighter VR/AR apps are being built with React Native, so the lines are blurring.)

Making the call on whether to use React Native depends on the app at hand. As a general rule it should be considered for projects where user experience and budget are equally important and when development speed is critical.

It should be ruled out for apps that are expected to be CPU-intensive (which is still the wheelhouse of native apps) or where the download barrier is a major concern (which might be better suited to Progressive Web Apps).

Best Mobile App Development Company in Orlando

When in doubt, consult with an experienced developer.

Orlando mobile development leader Concepta has experience with working with some of the biggest names in various industries to help them overcome business challenges, grow sales, and improve processes.

They know that each problem calls for a specific solution.

For example, the solution Concepta created for Kaluah Tours was very different from the one they built for FEMA (and vice versa).

Consultations take time, but they’re worth it. React Native has a host of benefits to offer if a specific app does fall within its “sweet spot”.

Are you ready to harness the power of React Native? Set up a complimentary appointment with one of Concepta’s developers to upgrade your mobile presence today!

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Mobile Enterprise Series: Native Mobile Apps


Hybrid mobile apps have come a long way, but native mobile apps are often seen as the “gold standard” of mobile apps. As actual downloaded software they offer more functionality than the current breed of hybrids.

There are even times when they’re the only practical option for an app. User experience is growing in importance, and native apps definitely deliver in that area. Still, there are limitations to be aware of before investing in native.

What It Means to Be Native

A “native mobile app” is built for a specific platform (Android, iOS, or Blackberry) using that device’s specific programming language. iOS relies on Objective-C or Swift, for example, while Android favors Java and Blackberry uses C++. These apps are downloaded from an app store or another hosting location and live on individual devices.

The Power of Native

Native apps have a lot of advantages over other formats.


Because they’re written for a specific device, native apps have none of the compromises developers have to make when building hybrid apps. They open faster, handle data-intensive or complex functions well, and generally have superior performance.

Access to device functions

Native apps can potentially access all a device’s functions, whether they’re hardware or other apps. This includes the camera, microphone, flash, compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, calendar, alarms, phone book, and any other feature the user allows. They also offer push notifications. With up to a 65% open rate, push notifications are incredibly useful for keeping users engaged with an app. Hybrid apps can reach more device functions than ever, but they have structural limitations when it comes to full access.


Offline access is in demand, especially in emerging markets and for business travelers. Since they live on a device, native apps have excellent offline potential. Users can access selected functions outside of a coverage area with the assurance that the app will update once the connection is restored.


Device specific development means better compatibility, so native apps are less prone to failing. They have a relatively high rate of availability when compared to hybrid or web apps.

User experience

Reliability, speed, and availability combine to create a high quality user experience. Plus, native apps use familiar device conventions that make navigation and trouble-shooting intuitive for fans of the platform.

Found in App Stores

The first hurdle in enticing users to download an app is helping them find it in the first place. When it’s in the app store, it turns up in searches by customers looking for similar apps. Potential users can view ratings and reviews from current users, which has been shown to increase consumer confidence. There’s also the peace of mind inspired by an app’s presence in the App Store since there are quality guidelines imposed by the App Store itself.

Better vendor support

Building an app is a significant investment for companies. Native apps have more assurance of long-term vendor support. They offer platform-specific Software Development Kits (SDK) that make development easier and increase the final quality of the app. Stability like this can be a major draw during a hectic digital transformation process.

Limitations of Native Mobile Apps

If there are so many advantages to native apps, why aren’t all apps native? There are some unavoidable drawbacks to native apps.


Native apps are more expensive to develop and maintain. They have a longer development cycle that needs a team of platform specialists. Because they only work on a single device, companies that choose native must build a different app for each platform they plan to support. This is potentially a serious problem for creators of enterprise apps.

App Store approval

Being in the App Store reassures users for a reason. The approval process can be complicated, and there’s no guarantee that an app will be accepted at all. While it’s not an everyday problem, changing guidelines can result in last-minute changes to what was a finished app.

Download barrier

Users need to download the app to use it. The average American downloads one or two apps a month, so competition for device space is fierce.

Support issues

When users are working on different devices, app support and customer service become complicated.

When Native is the Best Choice

Despite the higher cost, there are times when only a native app can handle the project at hand.

If connectivity expected to be an issue, few hybrid models can match native offline performance.

Games and other processing-intensive apps need the better performance of native to provide the kind of user experience that keeps retention rates high.

Also, when an app needs to use a lot of specialty hardware features native is the logical choice.

That applies to cross-app interactions (when the app needs to access other apps like calendars, alarms, and contacts) as well.

Native apps translate into performance. Hybrid apps have many useful applications and there are many use cases where the difference in speed is negligible, but it’s important to know when there’s no substitution for native.

Orlando Mobile App Development Company

The final call should be based on recommendations from a reputable mobile developer. A loyal, varied customer base is a strong sign of a good developer.

Concepta, a leader in the Orlando mobile development market, has experience with international lending companies like Service Finance and regional tourism businesses like Kingdom Strollers.

Having a diverse group of satisfied clients demonstrates a sound understanding of technology as well as a commitment to building long-term relationships over making maximum profit on a single project.

At the end of the day each app needs to be taken on a case by case basis.

Consult with a developer, discuss options with stakeholders, and make the decision based on long-term business needs even if that does call for a larger up-front investment.

After all, the cost of building an app that doesn’t work is always higher than investing in a native app.

Trying to decide between a native and hybrid app? Bring your questions to Concepta’s development team. We can provide tailored advice with your specific business goals in mind. Consultations are free, so schedule yours today and take the first step towards a successful release!

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5 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Web App


Web apps are a powerful tool for modern enterprise. They’re less expensive than native apps, run on a wide range of devices, and bypass the “download barrier” of native apps by running in the browser. Web apps have been building in popularity since responsive design hit the web.

Some apps have been around since then, too- and that’s a problem. Outdated web apps provide an inferior customer experience, especially on mobile. Here are the biggest indicators that it might be time to update a web app.

Bugs are Affecting the App’s Performance

Web apps have fewer moving parts (just the browser, mainly), so maintaining them tends to be easier than native or hybrid apps. Still, issues do arise that impact performance. As performance drops, usage rates suffer. Malfunctioning apps are potential security risks, too.

Web apps rely on the supporting website; if there are problems with the site there will be problems with the app. Make sure components are kept up to date and plan regular maintenance updates to address any ongoing issues.

These routine updates have the added benefit of reassuring users that the app is safe. The average app should receive small bug fixes or feature tweaks 2-3 times a month.

Customers Have Been Requesting a New Feature

Customer feedback is a valuable tool. It offers direct insight into the app’s performance and helps detect issues while they’re still small. App owners can’t answer every feature request, but when many users have same request it highlights an opportunity to fulfill an unmet need.

Most apps add minor or major features around once a month.

When adding new features, be sure they fit within the app’s scope. Web apps are highly useful but have a narrow focus.

If a feature lies outside a web app’s capabilities it may be better to release it in another way, such as a hybrid app.

New Tools Become Available

Web app technology is always advancing. What isn’t possible today might become possible tomorrow. For example, the web apps of today have much better offline functionality and access to device hardware than their predecessors.

Those are two areas where they used to fall well short of downloadable apps. While they still can’t match the power of a native app, they still provide a great user experience for a lot of enterprise purposes.

Look at the business value of new tools. If something can significantly improve user experience, consider adding the feature.

Data science tools fall under this category; new chances to draw insight are invaluable to both the company and users.

Retention Rates Begin Falling

App updates are more than a technical necessity. They’re also a marketing tool. When bounce rates rise and time on site falls, updates can rekindle excitement about the platform.

Consider this: web apps are competing with every other web and native app a customer uses.

Releasing new features or touching up the interface gives users something new to check out. Major updates can also serve as a “relaunch” to win back users after a setback.

The Design Looks Outdated

Visual appeal is disproportionately important to users. 75% of consumers judge a company on its digital presence, including apps. That first impression sets the stage for how the company as a whole is seen, so it’s critical to present a current, vibrant appearance.

What exactly makes a web app look “outdated”?

  • The design no longer matches company branding
  • The app uses old or out of style design choices
  • Overused stock photos and visual assets are featured

There’s no solid guidance on how often to give a web app a “face lift”. Design is highly subjective, relying on factors like the leadership’s personal preferences, changing trends in public taste, corporate rebrandings, and similar companies changing their branding. When in doubt, recruit outside, unbiased opinions about the design.

Final Thoughts

The key factor in determining whether a web app needs to be updated is whether it’s still delivering satisfactory results. Apps are investments; they should be providing a healthy return on that investment. Don’t make excuses for a failing app, either. Updating web apps is fairly painless and doing so regularly prevents issues from ballooning out of control down the road.

Does your web app need an update? Set up a free consultation to explore how Concepta can add the features your business requires- or even build a new app entirely!

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Mobile Enterprise Series: Progressive Web Apps


For some businesses, progressive web apps (PWAs) are the way to go. They offer a good balance between ROI and customer experience – as long as the project is a good fit.

Establishing a mobile presence isn’t an option anymore.

It’s a requirement for companies that want to stay competitive in an increasingly connected world.

Even small businesses benefit from the increase in traffic that comes from making a good mobile impression. The question of “if” has now shifted to “how”.

A New Take on Mobile

The push for mobile solutions has inspired several different approaches.

Mobile websites are the easiest to set up. A company’s existing web page is simply made responsive to adjust to a more mobile-friendly format which user access through the browser.

This involves rearranging navigation, increasing text size, loading smaller or fewer images, and more.

It’s easier and cheaper than other options, but that simplicity comes at the cost of customer experience.

Native apps provide the best customer experience from a usage angle. They’re downloadable programs independent of the browser.

Because native apps are specific to each device, they can provide the exact use conventions customers expect.

Building for every device can be expensive, though, and customers aren’t always willing to download another app.

Hybrid apps and PWAs exist in the middle ground between these extremes. Hybrid apps are essentially a native “wrapper’ with a web app inside.

The same web app can then be used for different devices.

Progressive web apps take the opposite approach: they’re apps that are hosted on a sponsoring website and accessed through the browser.

There’s nothing to download, but the app can still access some device features to offer a better user experience.

PWA Benefits

PWAs can very nearly match native apps when it comes to user experience. They operate on multiple platforms; any browser that supports PWAs will run them.

As of April 2018 Microsoft is also supporting them, so the list of holdouts is shrinking.

Developing progressive web apps is faster since one app can serve multiple platforms.

Companies have the option to use web developers instead of pricier and more in-demand mobile specialists, so the cost is lower as well.

Maintenance is low relative to other mobile options (besides responsive sites, but those can’t even come close to offering the same level of UX).

Updates can be made centrally and pushed to customers. There’s no need to download updates.

That brings up one of the most appealing benefits of PWAs: the low barrier to adoption.

Users only have to click a link and allow the app to use their device’s features. There’s no download or lengthy setup required.

PWA Limitations

Of course, this isn’t a perfect solution for all use cases.

PWAs don’t have full functionality on all browsers. In those cases they revert into a mobile website with no extra features.

They also can’t access all a device’s features like native apps can.

Battery usage can be significantly high and load times are a bit slower than apps in general.

While PWAs outperform many mobile options, they do have lower performance than native apps.

This is most noticeable with feature-rich applications and graphics or animations where there are lots of adjustable controls .

Weighing the Alternatives

Native apps

Native apps and PWAs share a lot of features: offline access, push notifications, full-screen access, desktop icons, and more.

PWAs have some benefits over native. Pages can be shared via link or bookmarked.

They’re easy to find, accessible by everyone regardless of device, and save on data usage.

In the past limited device usage kept companies from developing PWAs, but now they can access most device features: camera, microphone, location, vibration, screen orientation, and more.

There are some device features that they don’t have, though work is being done on accessing them.

Near-Field Communication, light sensors, magnetoscope, some directional tools, shape detection, and similar functions remain out of reach.

Plus, PWAs by nature can’t usually access things like contacts, calendars, SMS, device settings, phone, and more.

Users don’t like allowing those to websites for privacy reasons.

As mentioned earlier, there’s a reduced performance on feature-heavy or highly graphic apps. Those perform better on native.

Hybrid apps

Hybrid apps and PWAs can be said to be taking opposite approaches: one brings the web to an app and the other puts an app in the web.

Hybrid offers slightly better performance and can mimic OS conventions for a more predictable and familiar user experience.

However, PWAs don’t need wrappers. They come closer to the “write once, run everywhere” philosophy, meaning their development costs are lower.

Both have similar offline capabilities.

Mobile web pages

Progressive web apps are the clear winner here. PWAs offer far more functionality and options to users than mobile pages.

Companies have increased load times by as much as 90% by switching to PWAs.

Making the Call

Mobile strategy, like all digital decisions, should be informed by business needs. PWAs can be developed quickly and on a tight budget.

They are the way to go if a company is fighting “app drop” and needs to encourage adoption.

However, if Apple users are the target market PWAs won’t be the right fit since they won’t run well on that OS.

Orlando Mobile App Development Company

Concepta, one of Orlando’s leading mobile development companies, works with clients of all sizes and budgets.

We know the value of a wide toolkit to help our partners overcome business challenges, grow sales, and improve internal processes.

For some businesses, Concepta recommends progressive web apps (PWAs).

We offer a good balance between ROI and customer experience- as long as the project is a good fit.

Is a PWA the right choice for your company? Schedule your free consultation to take advantage of Concepta’s 12 years of experience in powering digital strategies.

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Why You Should be Leveraging API for Your Software


API aren’t just a catchy tech trend. They are valuable components of modern digital strategy that can boost the scalability, performance, and flexibility of software.

There’s a lot of debate these days over the best types of API to use, but many times the business case for this technology gets glossed over. That’s unfortunate, since there’s a strong argument to be made for why every company needs (or will eventually need) to leverage API while undergoing digital transformation.

API Definition

An application programming interface, or API, acts as an intermediary between software components. It allows for controlled access to internal data and operations by specifying what software accessing the target component does and doesn’t have permission to do.

What API Bring To The Table

API have more to offer than easy social media logins and mobile payment options. The technology’s applications are nearly endless, so when making a business case for API it’s more impactful to highlight the potential enterprise benefits first.

A solid API strategy can:

Boost Customer Experience and Retention

Customers want a rich, uninterrupted digital experience. 83% of them agree that a seamless experience across devices and platforms is important to them. Customers expect to be able use their favorite software in the most convenient manner, meaning in tandem with complimentary tools.

This is where API come in. By exposing select services to third-party use, API make the platform as a whole more functional and interactive. That translates into a richer customer experience. With their need for personalization and interactivity met, customers aren’t motivated to seek other services. After all, why should they go to the effort when they can handle all their product-specific needs in one place?

A great example of this effect in action is the Goodreads – Amazon partnership. Goodreads uses Amazon’s API to provide highly detailed product data. The platform’s users can make purchases or add items directly to Amazon wish lists from Goodreads. The end result is happier, more loyal customers with favorable impressions of both platforms.

There’s also a “fear of loss” effect in play that encourages customer retention. When an API is used in several different ways it becomes an integral part of the customer’s routine. Leaving the original platform disrupts their daily habits, which is a hassle most customers don’t want to handle.

That provides a cushion of tolerance that companies can lean on while fixing issues that might otherwise send churn skyrocketing.

Enrich Interactions With Partners

There are structural barriers preventing perfect cooperation between a company and its business partners. Partners must request data when they need it, causing delays when unexpected requirements come up or misinformation is accidentally passed.

An API takes out the middleman. Partners have controlled access to all the information and processes needed for smooth operations without being privy to more sensitive information.

The risk of expensive misunderstandings is reduced since everyone is working from the same data. It’s possible to allow partners some access for updating information and being active in joint processes, too, so data is always current.

Power Mobile Strategy

The future of digital enterprise lies heavily in mobile. 80% of adults own a smartphone, and they spend nearly four hours a day on mobile devices. That time is valuable from a business standpoint, too: mobile devices have higher conversion rates than desktops.

However, no company can develop their own extensions for every possible mobile device. There’s too much territory to cover. Even when companies choose hybrid apps to speed up smartphone coverage, the growing IoT trend means there are potential applications for smartwatches, fitness wearables, and more. It isn’t cost-effective to try and service them all.

API allow software to be adapted for use in a wider variety of devices. Market demand can determine where connectivity is wanted without additional investment by the parent company.

For example, a smart home platform might use a cleaning company’s API to allow customers to set up and oversee services while on vacation.

The company doesn’t need to develop the software themselves; the smart home company does that in order to provide their own customers with better service.

Modernize Legacy Systems

Outdated legacy systems present a challenge to digital transformation efforts. Often formed as rigid monoliths, they’re complex, hard to scale, and don’t connect easily with new tools and processes.

Internal API can be used to expose portions of a monolith architecture. They let existing functions interact with more modern tools or pull them out into more independent microservices.

Using API in this way has two main benefits. It increases the system’s performance and scalability by reducing the strain on its overall structure. Plus, internal systems that weren’t previously connected can talk to each other using the API.

This streamlines internal operations and breaks down data silos between departments.

Making the Call

The applications of API are so diverse and produce such marked results that it’s hard to find reasons not to develop them. In fact, as a company grows so does the social pressure to provide interconnectivity and data portability through public API. Those who don’t risk being passed by in favor of more tech-ready competitors.

How can API improve your business? Set up a free appointment with one of Concepta’s experienced developers to learn what this technology can do for you.

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Native vs Hybrid Apps: Which to Choose and When

native vs hybrid apps

Mobile apps are an inescapable part of how today’s consumers interact with their favorite brands. 90% of phone time is spent within apps, and that time is financially productive. Smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared with desktop conversion rates, with tablets maintaining the highest add-to-cart ratios on e-commerce websites.

Numbers like this are driven by the superior customer experience mobile apps provide over mobile websites. They’re more intuitive to use, give a higher sense of security, and boost repeat business. Essentially, having a mobile app is a no-brainer- but companies also need to decide what type of app will suit their needs, and that’s where it can get complicated.

The Challenge of Building an App

First, building “an” app is a deceptive term. There’s no single format for downloadable mobile apps that works on every device. Unless the app is intended for a specific group who will all be using the same equipment (like employees on company iPads), developers need to account for the variety of platforms used by their customer base. Building an app involves either building separate native Android and iOS apps or building a hybrid app with a platform specific wrapper.

Native Vs Hybrid Apps

Which is better? As is often the case in software development, the answer depends on the specific project.

The Benefits of Native Apps

A native app is written for a specific platform, like iOS or Android. Because it’s made for that platform alone, it can utilize traditional features of that platform to create a more intuitive interface. Seemingly minor features like drop down menus or button orientations provide a familiar interface and a better user experience.

Being built on a specific platform takes worry over vendor library support out of the picture. Apple will continue to support Swift, for example, so developers won’t have to worry about longevity or code becoming obsolete.

  • More data storage  Native apps can store more data offline than hybrid or web apps. They have a lot of functionality even when the user isn’t connected to the internet, syncing when service becomes available again.
  • Better functioning – Most apps incorporate at least one device function, whether it’s taking pictures for social media posts or using the accelerometer or gyroscope for games. Native apps have a much easier time accessing these functions. Swipe navigation and push notifications are simpler to include, too.
  • Better user experience – UX is so much better with a native app that it’s easy to argue that native is better when budget and time allow- but there’s the catch.

The Challenges of Native Apps

Native apps are more labor-intensive and expensive than hybrid apps to develop. Companies have to build and maintain a separate codebase for each platform. They’ll also need a larger development team, since programmers tend to specialize in platforms.

Building on different platforms slows down the development cycle as well. Developers can sometimes get around this by releasing an app on one platform with the other to follow as it’s done, but that method runs the risk of alienating users of the platform they release later.

Read this post for more info on building native apps.

The Benefits of Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps were created to combine the performance of native apps with the faster development cycle of a web app. Essentially, developers create a web app with custom wrappers for each device. This method is multi-platform friendly; scaling it to another platform is as simple as creating a new wrapper.

  • Faster development – A faster development cycle means a lower initial investment before an MVP can get to market There’s a shorter turnaround for upgrades or fixes when user feedback reveals a problem. The app won’t need to be resubmitted to mobile marketplaces when it’s updated, either.
  • More flexibility – While web apps have been criticized for difficulty in accessing device functions, hybrid apps have more flexibility. Third party tools allow developers to enrich hybrid apps with a healthy proportion of device features.
  • Budget-friendly – Hybrid can be a good choice for companies without complex needs. Cost is king, and hybrid apps are unarguably more budget-friendly in the hands of a good developer. Being able to get an app to market and respond to feedback quickly is a huge advantage.
  • Competitive  – More importantly, they’re fast enough to provide a good experience for simple UI-based applications. Hybrid frameworks are maturing to the point where they can almost match a native app for the majority of common functions. Throw in a few device functions for added utility and the average user won’t be able to tell it’s a hybrid.

The Challenges of Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps come close to the performance of native apps, but it’s true that they can’t quite match it. While they’re fast enough that users won’t notice much difference in average apps, it will be obvious the more complex an app becomes. Hybrid apps generally have lower storage limits and don’t perform as well offline.

UX takes a hit from platform-specific wrappers. The webview is platform agnostic, meaning users won’t have the familiar “feel” they’re used to and can’t navigate the app in an intuitive way. Wrappers can cause problems during development, too, driving up development times to near native levels.

Want to go under the hood? Check out the post: The Technology Behind the Best Hybrid Apps.

Hybrid App Example: Evernote

A good example is Evernote, a freemium hybrid app used for productivity and organization. It’s cross-platform in a major way, supporting most popular platforms (macOS, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, Microsoft Windows, webOS, etc). Evernote is praised for its intuitive design and responsiveness. It’s a good case study of playing to the strengths of hybrid apps to create a native experience at a hybrid cost.

There are times when a native app is the only sensible path. If UX is a key requirement, any app that leans heavily on device features needs to be native. Trying to skate by with a hybrid app will only frustrate users. That’s dangerous in a world where 52% of consumers decrease brand engagement after a bad mobile experience.

Native App Example: Pokémon GO

One well-known example is the popular mobile game Pokémon GO. The game uses the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass to power in-app features like catching virtual Pokémon and hatching eggs. Swiping is used for play and navigation. The game needs to be fast enough to keep play smooth enough to satisfy players in all coverage conditions. There’s no feasible way to meet those requirements with a hybrid app.


The choice between hybrid and native can make or break an app. Creating an experience that doesn’t meet consumers’ needs is worse than not having an app at all. On the other hand, there’s no point in blowing through the development budget for a native app when a hybrid app would work. Being frank about your project’s needs when meeting with the developer will position your app for success.

Need another option? Check out what the difference is between mobile web, native, and hybrid apps.

Wondering if a hybrid app could save your company money? Or is optimal performance from a native app a non-negotiable? A free consultation with Concepta will help you decide what kind of app you need!
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