Types of Mobile Apps

Types of Mobile Apps

Apps have become an integral part of our lives. There is an app out there for almost everything. You want to keep track of how many steps you walked during the day? There’s an app for it; you want to make a haircut appointment at your favorite salon? There’s an app for it; you want to pay your electricity bill? There’s an app for it. Apps have certainly made our lives easier. They provide an abundant amount of resources literally at our fingertips and have added a new dimension to our society. Gone are the days when people wrote letters to their loved ones or stood in the long line to buy tickets at the movie theater.

The online marketplace is brimming over with apps, however, this large array of apps fall into three major categories. Hence, there are three defining categories that you need to know before you begin developing your app.

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1. Native App:
Native apps are developed specifically for one platform. They are developed using one specific programming language like Objective C for ios and Java for Android and they are installed through an application store (Google’s Playstore or Apple’s App Store). Both iOS and Android provide a set of tools to enable developers to leverage the platform features in a controlled manner through predefined APIs They make full use of the device’s features like camera, address book, GPS etc. These apps provide a high degree of reliability and fast performance. Native apps can use the device’s notification system and can work offline. Native apps use the native APIs directly in the app, making a tight connection to the platform. Most games are native apps.

2. Mobile Web Apps:
Web apps are apps run by a browser and written typically in HTML 5. They are actually websites that look like applications and are viewed on a mobile device through a mobile browser. Users have to first go to the webpage and then install them on their home screen by creating a bookmark to that page. They use technologies such as JavaScript or HTML5 to provide interaction, navigation, or customization capabilities. Web apps are easy to maintain and update without the need to go through an approval process or updating installations. They are not required to be installed separately on devices as they are available on the internet. They are operated via browsers hence they can be operated from any device with a browser. In many instances, it is hard to distinguish a web app from a native app. For example, there doesn’t appear any visible browser buttons or bars and users can move through sections in the web app just like in the native app.

3. Hybrid Apps:
Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web apps. They are available on app stores like native apps and like web apps, they are dependent on HTML being rendered in a browser. Hybrid apps enable cross platform development and thus considerably reduce developmental costs. A hybrid app is one that is written with the same technology used for websites and mobile web implementations, and that is hosted or run inside a native container on a mobile device. It is the amalgamation of web technology and native execution. A hybrid app is a mobile app that contains a web view to run a web application inside of a native app, using a native app wrapper. As they are wrapped in a native app, they can also access all the device features like a native app and can be developed using the same tools required to build websites. Hybrid apps provide a robust base for mobile app development while still being able to use the web platform.

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