Mobile app development

Mobile App Development

Mobile App Development – Native, HTML 5 or Hybrid?

We enjoy smartphones because they have many applications that make everyday activities simpler and easier. If you are thinking of developing for the mobile application market, an important decision is to decide between developing a native application or a hybrid one.

Which is the best? There is no definitive answer as to which type of app you should go for. There are a few development paths that can be considered: native applications, hybrid applications and mobile websites.
Your choice will depend on you, your budget and time-scale.

HTML5 Vs Native Vs Hybrid Apps

Today, app entrepreneurs are not religious about native, HTML5 or hybrid applications. They choose to focus on a platform that best suits their business needs. The most interesting thing is that 91 percent of the app entrepreneurs are already developing applications on the HTML5 platform and 53 percent of them believe that it is the way to go multi-platform that offers all benefits of being web-native. Steve Jobs, however, did not want native applications on the iPhone and encouraged the development of web applications.


Native apps are installed through an application store (such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store). They are developed specifically for one platform, and can take full advantage of all the device features — they can use the camera, the GPS, the accelerometer, the compass, the list of contacts, and so on. Written in the language specific to the operating system: Java for Android, Swift or Objective C for iOS devices, and C# for Windows Phone. Native apps are compiled into machine code, which gives the best performance you can get from the mobile phone.


HTML5 apps use standard web technologies—typically HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. This write-once-run-anywhere approach to mobile development creates cross-platform mobile applications that work on multiple devices. While developers can create sophisticated apps with HTML5 and JavaScript alone, some vital limitations remain at the time of this writing, specifically session management, secure offline storage, and access to native device functionality (camera, calendar, geolocation, etc.)
An HTML5 mobile app is basically a web page, or series of web pages, that are designed to work on a tiny screen. As such, HTML5 apps are device agnostic and can be opened with any modern mobile browser.


Hybrid apps are part native apps, part web apps. (Because of that, many people incorrectly call them “web apps”). Hybrid apps make it possible to embed HTML5 apps inside a thin native container, combining the elements of native and HTML5 apps.
Hybrid apps are also popular because they allow cross-platform development and thus significantly reduce development costs: that is, the same HTML code components can be reused on different mobile operating systems. Tools such as PhoneGap and Sencha Touch allow people to design and code across platforms, using the power of HTML.



Adobe’s PhoneGap platform enables a developer to create an app that runs on a variety of mobile devices. The developer accomplishes this largely by writing the user interface portion of their application with Web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. PhoneGap’s development tools then bundle the HTML, CSS and JavaScript files into platform-specific deployment packages. PhoneGap supports a wide variety of platforms:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Phone 7 and 8
  • BlackBerry 5.x+
  • WebOS
  • Symbian
  • Tizen

To build an application for a particular platform, you must install the SDK for that platform on your machine. This could be a problem if, for instance, you’re on a Mac and want to target Windows tablets, whose SDK requires you to be on a Windows machine. Adobe offers a service named PhoneGap Build to help in this situation.

PhoneGap Build enables you to upload a ZIP file containing the HTML, CSS and JavaScript of your application. Additionally it enables you to submit an application to PhoneGap Build right from the command line; from there, it produces a deployment bundle for the desired platform.


You can do more than simply compile and package your application in the cloud. Cloud-based Icenium provides a browser-based IDE that lets you edit code in a browser and immediately turn those edits into a deployment package.

Downside to cloud-based development services is that they have limited support for PhoneGap plugins. New plugins are being supported all the time.

Summary: Native and hybrid apps are installed in an app store, whereas web apps are mobile-optimized webpages that look like an app. Both hybrid and web apps render HTML web pages, but hybrid apps use app-embedded browsers to do that.


Both native and hybrid are ways to fulfil the different needs and preferences of users and developers, and none of them can be thought as a perfect solution. They have their strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to decide which of them fits you better and which one you will use in your application.

Visit PhoneGap for more information please click here.
For more information please click here and info graphs.
Names of currents apps available as Hybrids e.g. Paypal, Ebay, Cisco and more

Please call a Datanova Digital Business Solution Architect on 1300 552 166 and book your complimentary Webinar or alternatively send an email to Datanova. You can book a webinar straight from our booking form here and we will get back to you shortly.

About Christian Krauter

The Founder of Datanova, a visionary and digital business solution architect with 24 years experience in the rapidly expanding fields ofinformation management systems, data governance and customer focused-strategy. Christian Krauter, is a recognised expert on analytical applications for Australian Government Services focused on improving client’s business results through cloud development, information management and data governance.