Comparing Mobile Development Approaches: Which Is Right for You?

June 25, 2020
Aug 11, 2022
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Comparing Mobile Development Approaches: Which Is Right for You?

There are a range of options in how you can approach your mobile development project. How do you know which one is right for you and your team? The same mobile development approach doesn't work best for every project or team. With so many variables that factor into this decision, your approach can mean the difference between a successful, financially beneficial app and one that falters.

In this post, we'll go through the main mobile development approaches and some of the key criteria that are important to factor into your evaluation.

Top Mobile Development Approaches

There are three mainstream options for mobile development: native, hybrid, and progressive web apps. Let’s take a look at what these options mean.

Native Development

Native development means creating an app for all platforms, primarily iOS and Android, and their associated devices. This also means you use a separate language (and typically separate skillsets) for each different platform.

Hybrid Development

Unlike native development, hybrid apps have one code base rather than one per platform. The application is written in one language and then translated into native applications for each platform through different methods depending on which hybrid solution is used for development. You can then publish your hybrid app in both iOS and Android app stores.

Progressive Web Applications

Progressive web apps are built with web technologies and exposed to mobile devices via a URL. The app is hosted on a server, like a website, and added to the device’s home screen. From there, the app looks, feels, and acts like a mobile app and not a website in a browser.

Factors to Consider in Your Mobile Development Approach

Each of these approaches has pros and cons. The right approach for you - and your project - can depend on a range of variables. Some of the key areas to consider include:

Distribution Method

You want to ensure the available distribution method for your approach matches your audience. Can your audience be reached via a URL? Or will they only adopt it through the app store?

User Experience

How critical is user experience to the success of your app? What are the drawbacks in the three mobile development approaches that might hinder adoption?

Speed of Development 

How important is speed to your business goals? Which approach allows you to get something out the door the fastest? 


What is the importance of stability to your project? How easy is it for your team to maintain a given mobile development approach? 

Download Our Mobile Application Decision Guide

Download our decision guide to review our analysis, based on extensive project experience and research, of the three main mobile development approaches: native, hybrid, and progressive web apps.

In this decision guide, you will get a head-to-head breakdown of these three approaches in the areas of cost, risk, performance, speed of development, user experience, and more.