The type of mobile application is an important choice for developers. After all, it determines a lot: platforms, tools, the necessary team, cost. Choosing the type of application is based on your goals and ideas. Today we will take a closer look at the features of developing native mobile applications.
What is native app
Native applications are programs that run on specific devices and platforms. You can create them for computers, smart TVs and all kinds of gadgets, but smartphones remain the most popular target devices.
According to IDC, the Android and iOS platforms ousted all other mobile OS from the market back in 2018. Therefore, speaking of native development, we mean the creation of applications for these two platforms.
Unlike websites and web applications, native mobile applications don’t run in the browser. They can only be installed from Google and Apple stores. You come across native apps from the first day of using the device. These are the default browser, alarm clock, calendar and those applications that you download from the store. They can access all the services and capabilities of the phone: camera, microphone, geolocation, accelerometer, calendar, media files, notifications, and so on.
Developing native applications requires different skills and technologies than creating mobile websites. You don’t need to worry about browser behavior and compatibility. You can use the built-in functions of the mobile OS to ensure the convenience of users and realize the functionality of your application.
The advantages of a hybrid application will help you determine whether this type is suitable for your project. Compare your goals and capabilities of the future application with a list of benefits.
Native mobile apps interact directly with native APIs and are independent of third-party plugins and WebViews. Thanks to this, such applications are faster than, for example, hybrid ones. If you are going to develop games or applications with well-developed graphics, performance will be a determining point for you.
Access to all functions of devices
Native mobile applications easily request access to all the necessary functions of iOS or Android. This allows you to make the app more flexible and scalable. For comparison, web technologies cannot directly use native APIs, and for hybrid applications, you need to wait for a plugin that will support new features.
Easier to create a platform-friendly UI/UX
The app interface for iOS and Android is significantly different. And a person who prefers a specific platform is used to special screen design. Patterns of user behavior in the application are different for each platform, which gives designers the opportunity to tailor the interface to their needs, to achieve excellent interaction and usability.
Native apps follow the rules of the stores
Due to its architecture, native mobile applications are better aligned with the recommendations of the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Also, placing your product in the store increases its chances of downloading, and therefore attracting users.
No internet connection required
Native applications are installed directly on the device, so they do not require an Internet connection. This is a big plus for those who want to use your application without connecting to mobile Internet or Wi-Fi.
Native iOS apps are created using the Objective-C or Swift programming languages. Unlike Android, the iOS operating system has closed-source code created exclusively for Apple hardware. Therefore, for development, you only need an Apple Mac device.
Apple has many great tools and resources for iOS developers:
- iOS SDK. Integrated with the Cocoa Touch UI platform.
- Xcode. The official development environment for iOS.
- Swift Playgrounds. Learning platform for development in Swift.
- TestFlight. Beta Application.
iOS also has a wonderful third-party ecosystem with well-known AppCode and CodeRunner tools. The recommendations for downloading the app on the App Store are pretty strict. The store may refuse to publish your application for many reasons: from poor performance to security issues and lack of valuable content.
Native Android apps are developed with the Java, Kotlin, and C ++ programming languages. Google also provides developers with advanced tools for creating Android applications:
- Android SDK. This is a software development kit. This also includes Android Studio, the official integrated development environment for Android.
- Firebase. Integrated mobile development platform.
- Command-line tools for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Android Jetpack. A collection of off-the-shelf components.
Besides native tools from Google, there are many third-party solutions that you can use for development. When the native Android application is ready, you will need to present it in the Google Play app store, where users can download it.
To gain popularity, you need to calculate and fix app errors, refine the functionality and design in accordance with the test results. What you should pay attention to:
- always measure the performance of your application from the point of view of the user;
- calculate errors by the operating system, application version, and device type
- monitor calls to third-party APIs and internal services;
- measure metrics that really matter to end-users: startup time, user interface response time, and data consumption.
Careful monitoring of the application performance will help you achieve your business goals. Such applications crash less often, get higher ratings in the stores, and ultimately bring more happy users and downloads.
Why native apps are more expensive than other types
Native apps are really more expensive to develop. Here you can’t invest in $ 10,000, the average cost of developing a native project is about $ 100,000 or more. There are several reasons for this that are disadvantages of this type of application.
You need two apps at once
Your project should be accessible to users of different devices. Since you are developing an application for iOS and Android, you need two codes at once, because parts of the native code cannot be used in both versions. As a result, you need to hire a development team to support both platforms and plan longer development times.
Native applications are complex projects that require professional development and support. This may affect your budget. However, you can always start with MVP, a minimally viable product with basic features. Thus, you will receive a functional app in the shortest possible time. Later, when your budget will allow more, you can improve the application as needed.
Launching the app is just the beginning of the journey. Next, you will have to constantly update its functionality and fix errors. Native mobile apps are pretty hard to maintain. And, as with the development price, the more effort is spent on support, the more you have to pay.
What is the result
Each application is unique and requires a special approach. If you need a fast app with excellent graphics that you plan to present in popular markets, native development is a great option. Each approach has its pros and cons, which are worth considering. With native development, your start investment may be higher, but you will save time and money in the long run, while offering an excellent user experience, productivity, and user convenience.