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Progressive Web Apps vs. Native Apps: Which Works Best for Your Business?

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Progressive Web Apps vs. Native Apps

We all can agree on the opinion that the tech world is ever transforming and at times overwhelming. For businesses looking forward to developing a mobile app faces many challenges even before the initiation– for eg. amidst various critical decisions comes between ‘Progressive Web Apps, hybrid apps, and native apps’— which one to choose considering each different advantages and limitations. 

In this post, we’ll get into the features of both PWAs and native apps, weighing their strengths against their weaknesses to put you in the right position for making a decision that works best for your business.

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Read More – Mobile App Development: Native vs. Hybrid vs. Web Apps

Definition of Progressive Web App development

Progressive Web Apps provides flexible web experience and are a part of web application development services—delivering some of the finest features from websites and mobile apps. PWAs are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript frameworks, hence allowing for cross-platform functionality.

Unlike native apps, which need to be downloaded and installed on your mobile device, PWAs run directly on the web browser but still offer you a full-screen experience that is quite similar to that of a native app. You can save a PWA to a home screen by creating an icon, which will actually be a shortcut to the PWA; when opened, though, it will act like a website.

Native Apps Defined

Native applications are software programmed mainly to be executed either on an Android or iOS mobile device. They are developed using the native programming languages and OS tools that enables these applications to fully access all hardware and software capabilities of the device, including the camera, GPS, accelerator, and push notifications.

They generally provide a better and faster user experience since they are designed for the specific OS. Some native apps may even run offline–However, they need to be downloaded from app stores and mostly require constant updating.

Differences Between Progressive Web Apps and Native Apps

All the major differences between PWAs and native applications can be outlined based on how they are developed and what they can do. You can read any Web App Development Company: A Comprehensive Guide to make a wise decision. However, here are some of the differences you must know and what only the best web application development company would tell you about.

– Development Approach:

The difference lies in the area of their development. PWAs are designed to run in a run-time environment and exist on a web browser; hence, they are built using web technologies—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Thus, they can run on any device with a web browser.

Contrarily, native apps are especially optimized for the operating system on which they are designed to run. For instance, in some web application development services while  making native apps for iOS and Android, native language programming will be used on the respective platforms; for example, Swift and Objective-C combinations in iOS apps, and Java and Kotlin in Android.

– Cost and Development Time

PWAs cost less and take less development time than native apps, as multi-platform technologies are in play. Most of the time, there is a single code base across all devices and operating systems.

The case is different for native apps, as a minimum of two different versions need to be created—one for iOS and one for Android. This involves more time and resources and typically means engaging a different development team for each version. Furthermore, making sure that updates in each app and maintenance are done is also expensive and time-consuming.

– Distribution

Distribution of native apps is much more complicated compared to PWAs. A native app needs to be submitted for review in different app stores, for example, Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store, all of which have their own requirements and fees to be paid for their services. Drawing more visibility also needs app store optimization.

On the contrary, PWAs are not required to be submitted to an app store. They are online, and thus a user can easily find and access them; this is particularly true if the app allows searches.

– Trust and Security

PWAs not only require a web browser and a URL, but the absence of app store vigilance also raises red flags over trust and security. App stores have rigid guidelines to ensure only secure and reliable native apps are available for download and installation, thereby giving users the confidence to do so.

– Performance

Native apps are tailor-made to their operating systems, which, in particular, enables them to unlock a device’s full potential in advanced features and a better user experience.

PWAs are responsive and light, taking hardly any space on any device since none of it is really installed. Their performance may differ across various browsers and devices, though. For instance, the Starbucks PWA version takes up 99.84% less space compared to its iOS app; in the case of Twitter, its PWA accounts for only 1-3% in size compared to that of its native app.

– Offline Performance 

Many native applications allow users offline access to at least some of their functionality. Meanwhile, modern PWAs have begun delivering this kind of functionality through cached data, allowing users to at least do something inside the app offline.

Read More- The Future of Web Application Development

Ready to kick start your new project? Get a free quote today.

What to Choose – Progressive Web App development vs. Native App Development

The choice between a PWA and a native app vastly depends on your needs and priorities. If you have budget constraints or want to get your app up and running quickly, a PWA might be the way to go. If you want top-notch performance and broad platform compatibility, a native app would, therefore, be best. Consult a firm offering the best web application development services or web development and app development services.

Pros of PWAs

  • Universal access: Works with any device that has a Web browser.
  • Faster and cheaper development: One app for all platforms.
  • No installation necessary: Easier for the user and more space-effective.
  • Easier upkeep for the app: Rarely updated and easier to manage.
  • No app store limitations: Skip the app store approval process. 

Cons of PWAs

  • Limited functionality: You can’t access all the native device capabilities.
  • Trust issues: Without vetting by an App Store, some might wonder as to their security.

Pros of Native Apps

  • Rich functionality: You have access to every native device capability.
  • Better performance: More fluid and responsive user experience.
  • Improved security: App store guidelines are designed to ensure safety in apps.
  • Visibility of an App Store: Easier to find and download for the end-user.
  • Better personalization: Devices’ sensors can be tapped for personalized experiences.

Cons of Native Apps

  • Confined to just mobile devices: Individual development is required for iOS and Android.
  • Higher cost and longer development time: Building is more expensive and takes longer.
  • App store approval: The app must comply with app store requirements; risks getting rejected.

From the Users’ Perspective

Here’s a summary based on some important choosing factors:

Download & Installation

  • PWA: Easier and faster; no app store or installation required, just a URL and home screen addition.
  • Native App: Requires downloading and installing from app stores, which can be time-consuming.

Performance

  • PWA: Generally good, with faster loading times compared to traditional web apps due to service workers. Can work offline in some cases.
  • Native App: Potentially better performance due to direct access to device hardware, leading to a smoother user experience.

Functionality

  • PWA: Limited compared to native apps in some areas:
    • Push Notifications: Less platform-consistent support.
    • Geofencing: Unavailable.
    • Mobile Payment: Functionality varies across platforms.
    • Interaction with Other Apps: Restricted.
    • Access to Device Features: Limited access to certain hardware sensors.
  • Native App: Offers wider functionality and deeper integration with device features.

Ready to kick start your new project? Get a free quote today.

Read More- Top Web Application Development Frameworks 

Native and PWA: A Summary Comparison

PWAs deliver a problem-free experience, as it comes with ease of access and multiple offline features. On the other hand, native apps may offer seamless experiences but with heavier and more complex functionalities. The answer lies in how sophisticated the app is going to be and how best it meets the users’ needs.

Now we integrate our findings regarding what app type is better for you, according to main advantages and disadvantages of each in one table:

FeaturePWANative App
InstallationNo installation required, can be added to the home screenInstallation required
CompatibilityWorks on any platform and mobile deviceDesigned for one OS platform, dependent on new OS versions
UX/UIFeels like a native appKnown for appealing layouts, intuitive interfaces, and stellar performance
Development CostsOne development team is enoughSeparate development for each platform required
ShareabilityCan be shared through a brief URL-linkAccess via app store only
Offline ModeLimited functionality in offline modeWorks appropriately in offline mode
Memory ConsumptionRAM requirements are not highRequires a lot of memory storage
UpdatesAutomatically updatesRequires manual updates
SecurityOffers HTTPS encryptionImplements additional security layers with the help of built-in device components
Hardware AccessLacks full access to hardware componentsHas full access to hardware components
Inter-app CommunicationNot availableAvailable

Conclusion

The battle between progressive web apps and their native siblings is certainly a tough one to call, as each has its own pros and cons. Nevertheless, PWAs are usually seen as the favorite for their accessibility and less cost-intensive development. They are not limited to operating systems, as they would run within any web browser.

Any business that is planning to create a mobile application should know all the pros and limitations of PWAs and native apps. If you need expert help on how to get started building a PWA or need help with the development process, speak to us today at Quickway Infosystems.

Be it an e-commerce app, a business application, or any other category of mobile app, our development services can help in developing high-quality solutions to strengthen your brand presence.

Contact us today for a free consultation and get started on your best web application development company today.

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