People often believe that native mobile apps and web apps have the same meaning. However, this is untrue in all respect. The difference between a mobile app and a web app is so concise that users can tell them apart. The mode of deployment and development also varies widely.
First and foremost, it is vital to make a distinction between websites and web apps. All web apps are websites, but not all websites are web apps.
On the internet today, there is a wide variety of websites. Responsive and interactive web apps are as common as static websites on the World Wide Web. A unique feature of web apps is that they behave like a mobile app but are accessed from a web browser.
Mobile app vs. web app
Native mobile apps are created for a particular mobile operating system like iOS and Android. They are downloadable, and users can access them on an app store. Furthermore, a downloaded mobile app may need permission to use system resources like the camera, phonebook, and GPS to carry out some operations.
Conversely, users can only access web apps on a web browser. They have a fluid and responsive design, adapting to any screen size. In addition, they are non-downloadable and cannot be installed on an electronic device. However, the responsive feature of web apps results in a semblance with mobile apps in terms of appearance and function. This causes some misperceptions among users.
Another distinct feature of web apps is that an internet connection is needed before they can work. This is unlike mobile apps, which can run offline. While mobile apps are reputed for their speed and efficiency, users need to download regular updates. On the other hand, web apps can update without third-party intervention.
As mentioned earlier, a web app and a mobile app have a huge difference in how they have been built and deployed. Below is a brief run-through of how both of them are developed.
What does it take to build a mobile app?
The cost of developing a mobile app is on the high side compared to web apps since mobile apps are platform-specific. A software development team will need to build different apps performing the same function for various mobile operating systems. Fortunately, cross-platform programming languages are now in vogue as they help developers build mobile apps with a single code base.
The preferred programming language and integrated development environment for an iOS operating system on Apple devices are Swift and XCode IDE, respectively. Android is the most common mobile operating system and is most commonly developed with Java and Android Studios.
Apple and Google – the iOS and Android operating systems creators, respectively – offer software development kits, interface elements, and other tools to help developers create native mobile apps.
What is needed to develop a web app?
Pros of Native mobile apps
The following are the advantages of native mobile apps:
- They are quicker than web apps
- They have enhanced functionalities
- They can run without access to an internet connection
- They are secure to use since they need to get approval from the app store
- Developing them is less demanding as SDKs, interface elements, and developer tools are available
The demerits of native mobile apps
Here are some of the disadvantages of mobile apps:
- Developing them is costly compared to web apps
- App maintenance and update is pricey
- Approval of mobile app by an app store is not easy
The merits of web apps
Below are some of the pros of web apps:
- There is no need to download or install them
- Maintaining them is easy and affordable
- They update themselves
- Developing them is more straightforward and faster than mobile apps
- App store approval is not a necessity
The disadvantages of web apps
The demerits of web apps include:
- They require an internet connection to work
- They are not as fast as mobile apps
- Finding them is not easy as they are not listed on app stores
- There is a guarantee for quality and security as they do not require approval from app stores.
Mobile apps and web apps are needed for businesses to scale. However, these digital tools have peculiar pros and cons that make them more suitable for various applications. A web development agency can help you select the most appropriate device to grow your business.