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  • Writer's pictureDaniela Vidal

4 Approaches to Mobile Apps Development, Which One To Choose?

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Undoubtedly mobile applications are increasingly present in the lives of consumers; year after year, the use of mobiles increases, as well as purchases; and the use of social networks from these devices.

In today’s world, mobile applications have become an integral part of our lives. They help us do everything from shopping to banking.

As entrepreneurs, we constantly explore the best platforms to showcase our products or services, and since cell phones are the most used devices in the world, creating mobile applications is an idea aligned with the growth we expect.

There are two leading platforms for creating mobile applications: IOS and Android. In addition, there are four approaches to app development:

  • Native Mobile Application

  • Cross-Platform Native Mobile Applications

  • Hybrid Mobile Applications

  • Progressive Web Applications

This blog aims to explore the different approaches to mobile application development and give tips for choosing the one that fits your project better.

Content Table

Why should I develop a mobile application?

We bring you some statistics about the use of mobiles and mobile apps that speak for themselves.

Once you read them, you will not doubt that existing in the mobile world is worth it.

  • The average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone each day. And 1 in 5 smartphone users spends upwards of 4.5 hours on average on their phones daily.

four approaches to mobile apps developement

Approaches To App Development

When we are going to develop a mobile app we need to choose the way we are going to do it, we need to figure out whether we want to develop it for IOS, Android, or, both.

We also have to choose one out of four approaches to app development.

In this title, we are going to explain each of them and give you some advice about their use.

1. Native Mobile Application

native mobile apps

Native apps live on the device and are accessed through icons on the device's home screen. Native apps are installed through an application store (such as Google Play or 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.

They can also incorporate gestures. And native apps can use the device’s notification system and can work offline.

Why develop natively today?

There are integration requirements with the phone that are easier to manage natively.

When my application is going to use the benefits of each of the native platforms, it becomes very complex to use the shortcuts of hybrid application development in connection with these native facilities of each platform.

For example, in IOS, the augmented reality libraries, iCloud, and Siri. In Android, the Google Go, and NFC, among others.

Native apps are a future-proof investment. They are secure, user-friendly, and light faster than other apps. If your business is obliged to serve the audience well, you should go with Native app development.

  • Tools:

  • For iOS: XCode, AppCode, Atom

  • For Android: Android Studio, Android IDE, Intellij IDEA

  • App examples:

  • GPS, Pinterest, SwiftKey.

2. Cross-Platform Mobile Applications

cross-platfom mobile apps

They are applications written in a standard programming language and compiled in native code.

They are not hybrid; instead, they run natively.

The limitations of the Cross- Platforms Apps may be that you must have well-defined widgets or accept that portions of the development must be written twice, cross-platform and natively.

The cross-platform app approach allows developers to write code once and reuse it for different platforms.

It is the best approach for low-cost custom apps with secure, stable, and easy-to-maintain and iterate features.

  • App examples:

    • Facebook Ads Manager, Zipcar

3. Hybrid Mobile Applications

hybrid web apps

This solution is a blend, hence the name hybrid, of both native and web solutions. The application's core is written using web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), which are then encapsulated within a native application.

Through the use of plugins, these applications can have full access to the mobile device’s features.

Hybrid app development is quite a time savior and more cost-effective than native apps.

You can write the code once and use it for multiple platforms. It renders user experience and performance close to native apps. However, it is a challenge to achieve a great UX and navigation pattern from a visual perspective.

Adopting a Hybrid App Development approach can be a pilot solution for emerging startup businesses.

High development speed and cost-effective nature make this approach ideal for startups.

If UX and performance are not a priority for the app, it would be the best solution than a native application.

  • Tools:

    • Ionic, Apache Cordova, Visual Studio

  • App examples:

    • JustWatch, NHS, Airbus Helicopters

When there is a generic application, it makes sense to use a hybrid development, but if in the design there is a high interaction with the native features of each platform it is better to develop natively.

4. Progressive Web Applications

progressive web apps

Progressive web applications are halfway between the native applications and the web applications: they are basically web pages, but through the use of Service Workers and other technologies, they behave more like normal applications than web applications.

Progressive Web Apps are web applications designed to be capable, reliable, and installable. These three pillars transform them into an experience that feels like a platform-specific application.

Developing progressive web applications has a lot of advantages and some disadvantages:

1. Apps are more easily updated on the platforms.

2. Being developed on a website makes it easier for human resources; it is simpler to have web application developers than mobile application developers.

3. The limitation is that I can not access all the features that the phone offers me, such as Bluetooth for example.

4. Apple doesn’t allow Progressive web Applications to access many important features, including Touch ID, Face ID, ARKit, Bluetooth, serial, Beacons, altimeter sensors, and even battery information.

It is important to make a wise analysis of the app's requirements today and in the future to avoid a mistake in choosing the development of a progressive application.

If this analysis does not include the use of any limited tools in the development of progressive apps, this is an excellent option for your Mobile App.

Facts to keep in mind when developing SECURE mobile applications

security in mobile apps

  • Mobile applications are mostly a different form of the front end.

  • In Mobiles, there is closer proximity to the phone owner's data, such as contacts, GPS location, etc.

  • The portability feature that mobile devices have, brings additional risks to those of a desktop applications. For example, a mobile device can be lost, stolen, compromised, and returned. So security controls must address these risks.

  • The way data is stored on the mobile device, the requirements to encrypt the information, the mechanisms to protect against emulators, jailbroken devices or devices with root access, the information that is exposed in the application backups, the management of API access keys are some of the considerations that must be raised.

  • It is essential to properly select the technology and location where each control is to be implemented. For example, the ability to defend application modifications in the javascript part of a hybrid application is less than that of the code managed by the Java virtual machine, and this is less than that of libraries that use native access (NDK) to the device. This applies to both Android and IOS.

  • Authentication mechanisms such as access to device keys and trust in digital certificates; are very important in mobile app development.

  • To mitigate risks in mobile app development, coordinated work must be done in the development lifecycle, starting from the design, contemplating the risks that may be exposing the designed user experience, the selection of technologies, an appropriate security design, and non-functional use cases, the monitoring of secure programming practices and the respective dynamic testing, dependency composition, and reverse engineering.


To make a good development of mobile applications you should start by analyzing both the budget and the short and long-term needs of the application.

Depending on these two issues you can make a decision on which approach to developing your application.

If our application does not need the features of the mobile platforms the best option to develop will be the progressive applications.

However, if the application that needs to be developed needs native mobile features such as Siri, iCloud, or GoogleGo, it will be better to opt for the development of 100% native applications.

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