Native or hybrid mobile applications? What's the difference?

Hello everyone, this is José from NetDevices. I have already told you about thecontinuous integration and versioning tools. I have chosen to change the context for today and focus on the different types of applications. At Netdevices, we have the digital expertise to regularly develop native mobile applications and hybrids. Let's see the difference together.

Application Native? What is Native?

A application mobile native is usually developed specifically for a mobile OS (iOS or Android for example) in a language defined by the OS editor and with specific development tools ( SDKs, IDEs, …). These tools are also provided by the OS publisher.

If you want a application to be available on several OS, then cross platform (but also cross device)It must be developed as many times as there are targeted OSes. This means that the code will be different for each OS, platform and device.

SDK: Software Development Kit

SDK (Software Development Kit) refers to a software package with a set of functions available to developers giving them access to the resources of the OS and its device.

This software will thus facilitate the implementation process.

IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

The IDEs (Integrated Development Environments or Integrated Development Environments) correspond to programming environments.

They are composed of :

  • a code editor,
  • compiler,
  • debugger,
  • GUI generator or simulator.

Each OS has a different IDE. For Apple for example developers use Xcode. Xcode is a application that allows you to write code, compileapplication and test all the usual development tasks. For Android developers use Android Studio.

What are hybrid mobile applications?

Unlike native applications, the code of theapplication hybrid can be the same for different OS, only the native "capsule" will change.

Cordova & React Native, two examples of technologies for Hybrid applications

Cordova  uses web development tools. The developer writes a single piece of code for a application web site, which is then automatically "encapsulated" in a native application . The web development tools mentioned above remain OS-independent. We simply proceed with a web browser.

For React-native the principle is the same, except that the tools are more integrated with the OS. They use a Javascript engine (in this case, Chrome's). With this engine, you write Javascript code (independent of the OS) that will manipulate native objects (view, screen, sensor, camera). This means you can use React-native on all platforms for which they have adapted the Javascript engine.

Bonus: What about Web Applications?

A application web or (webapp) refers to a website adapted for smartphones, accessible and executable via a web browser.

Unlike native applications, it has the particularity of being accessible on all types of smartphones whatever their operating system. Moreover, it does not require any download.

At NetDevices we use Javascript in particular.

Native & Hybrid mobile applications made in Netdevices

Over the years, we've had the opportunity to develop multiple hybrid mobile applications for several customers in different sectors.

For example:

  • Sysmedic Bed Management
  • Land of Lyn
  • Expway
  • Parki

On the native application side, we have developed applications such as:

  • 3D sound lab
  • videodesk

For more information, please see our projects.