Web App or Native App

One of the most common questions we get here at Helium is “Should my company have a web app or a native app?” This always leads to us asking a series of questions in response to better understand the goals and needs of our customer.

Budget, off-line access, and timeline are three of the many factors in deciding between a web app and a native app for your business.

Before we move any further, I want to clarify the difference between a web app and a native app.

A native app is what most people think of when they think about an app. For now, think of a native app as an application that download in the App Store or Google Play. Examples of native apps include Pandora and YouTube.

On the other hand, there are web apps. The key identifier of a web app is that you access it through your internet browser (i.e. Safari or Chrome). Facebook mobile (accessed through the web browser) is one of the most popular web apps in the world.

When making a decision between a web app and a mobile app, the budget is usually the first big factor. The cost to create a web application is much lower than a native app. There are two big reasons for this (1) The programming language for web applications is much less difficult to work with and (2) Unlike native applications that require unique code for both Android and iPhone, there is only one set of code for a web application. In short, if budget is a constraint, the best bet is probably a web app.

If you have the budget, the next factor is the offline access. Web applications rely on an internet connection to work. Without the internet, a web app is dead in the water. Native applications store data and work without an internet connection. This is what allows you to listen to music or play a game on your phone without the internet, 30,000 feet in the sky, on an airplane.

Urgency is the third factor. A web application can be delivered in as little as a few weeks, while a set of native applications will take at least 60 days. Of course, everyone would like their application to be ready ASAP, understanding the development time is critical is determining between a web or native app.

If you have more questions or are thinking about creating a mobile app, give us a call or fill out our contact form. The coffee is one us.

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