Native vs Mobile Web vs Hybrid -Apps


About Native:
Native applications are those which are platform and hardware dependent. These are built using specific programming language like Objective C for iOS, Java for Android and .Net for Windows.

These mobile applications are fast, reliable, responsive and powerful but are tied to a specific platform.

Must be deployed or downloaded. Most apps requires approval and you have to wait for them to get approved.

Access to hardware sensors like Camera, Gyroscope, Microphone, Compass.

Few problems with Audio and Video. Flash works but only if device supports it.

Specific tools required for some platforms ( like Apple's) , You have to built a new app for each target platform.

Tight control over typefaces and layout.

You can charge whatever you wish for your application but most App distributors take a slice up to 30%.
About Mobile-Web:
Mobile-Web applications are simply the  web-pages designed for the Mobile devices, i,e optimizing your websites for use on smaller screens.

Mobile-Web Apps refers to the use of internet connected applications, or browser based access to the internet from a mobile device, which is connected to a wireless network.

Mobile-Web applications holds the promise of overcoming this fragmentation in Mobile OS's and Apple Store marketplaces by enabling you to develop apps that will run across platforms, across devices using open web technologies such  as HTML, CSS, JavaScript.

These Apps can be hosted on your already existing web-server and accessed at a standard URL through the device web-browser.

Since these are platform agnostic, content can be reformatted with CSS  to suit any device.

Browsers can be clunky but new advancements in JavaScript like jQuery Mobile are catching up fast.

W3C’s Geo-location API is a simple JavaScript API that when plugged into your app can enhance the user’s interaction with your service by pinpointing their exact position using the GPS sensors built into today’s devices. Supported by many of today’s Mobile WebKit browsers on all the main platforms. Google Maps uses this for their mobile web app.

Developing and delivering Mobile-Web apps means no high-level coding languages, no payments to App Store platforms, no approval process.

Scope of Mobile-Web Apps with HTML5:

With HTML5's introduction of the new video element , web developers can now  include video within their pages without the need of embedding it in a plugin like flash. Given the high profile case of Apple refusing to support flash on their massively popular iOS devices, this is something of a huge relief to Mobile-Web developers.

The HTML 5 specification contains a standard for local storage that is implemented by a wide variety of browsers. Using the localStorage API You can create applications that store their data locally on the user’s phone rather than on your servers. This can be used to enable applications that use dynamic data such as calendars to also be used offline, or to support personalization of the app by users without them needing to log in or have an account on your site.

Giving your apps some level of offline capability can bring it closer to the native experience as your key interface features – buttons, images, styles, scripts, etc – can all still work even if the user has a poor internet connection.

HTML5 enables developers to specify which files should be stored locally on the user’s device. This saves your app from ending up being a blank page if the user doesn’t have a connection, thus improving the user experience.

HTML5’s Web Workers specification provides applications with the ability to use scripts that run in the background without interacting with users.

Your mobile users will often have to key in information on your app. HTML5 brings new form types that are recognised by the browsers and formatted accordingly, presenting the user with the keyboard they need, no longer needing lengthy JavaScripts... just declared straight in the HTML.

A primary reason that many companies are not already jumping on the HTML5 bandwagon is the belief that HTML apps cannot access native device features. Indeed, pure mobile web apps (i.e., those that run in the browser – not hybrid ones) are currently restricted in their access to features such as the camera, microphone, address book, and so forth.

There is work in progress at the W3C to allow web apps to access such devices services , mobile browsers do not currently provide such functionality – a key requirement for many innovative mobile apps.

About Hybrid-Apps:

A Hybrid-App is a native, downloadable app that runs all or some of its user interface in a embedded browser component.

Hybrid-App development employes native capabilities whiles also serving as a strategic stepping stone towards the adoption of HTML5.

To the user a Hybrid-App is almost indistinguishable from a native one, it is downloaded from the App-Store or Marketplace. It is stored on the device and launched just like any other App.

But to developers there is a huge difference because instead of rewriting the App from scratch for each Mobile-OS, they write at-least some of their application code in HTML, CSS and JavaScript and re-use it across devices.

Hybrid-Apps provide access to hardware sensors, frameworks such as Open-Source PhoneGap Library makes it possible for JavaScript code to query the compass, take pictures, find or create contacts and appointments and tap on many other device features that Mobile-Web apps are barred from accessing.

Unlike the Mobile-Web App, you don't browse to a Hybrid-App, you download and install it.

Also, HTML pages of a hybrid app can be transmitted by a web server, but that’s not a requirement. To improve performance, hybrid apps can include a bundled copy of all required web resources (i.e., HTML, JavaScript, CSS and images) so that users will get instant access to them, without having to wait for a web server to send them over.

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