Native vrs Progressive Web Apps

Looking at mobile app development and not sure whether to go for a native app or progressive web app (PWA).

Native Apps

Native or mobile apps are built to run on a specific operating system e.g: Android, iOS or Windows. They are developed using specific languages such as Java, Swift or frameworks such as Xamarin, Appsheet, Appcelerator and Flutter, amongst others. Native apps utilise the hardware and software capabilities of a device and hence provide excellent performance, customer experience and a broad scope of features. Once built a native app is submitted and reviewed by Google Play or Apple Store, to ensure each platform’s standards are met. This process can take a couple of months.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web applications (PWA) are basically an accelerated website, developed with HTML, CSS, JavaScript frameworks including Vue.js and React or other web technologies. They look and perform similarly to native/mobile applications but through a browser. Hence no submissions to app stores are required and no downloading of apps. PWA’s are an extension of your website, but with newer features that offer a “native-like” experience. Current well know examples of PWAs are Twitter, Uber and Forbes.

Native App vrs PWA

At first glance progressive web and native apps seem similar, however they are suited for different business cases. The main difference lies in the fact that they are based on different technologies and hence can lead to discrepancies in hardware and software compatibility, shareability, promotional peculiarities, and other aspects. If your project requires open access from a single URL, your budget does not allow separate development for IOS/Android/Windows platforms, push notifications are not a priority, functionality of app does not require hardware elements not supported by PWAs - then a PWA is probably the best option. If none of the above apply and you have a robust development budget then a native app could be the way to go. If needing advice/assistance feel free to contact us.