What is a Progressive Web Application (PWA)?
Progressive Web Apps are something between a mobile app and a responsive website.
Users can access a PWA on their browser through a URL, but gives an experience of the app on their browser, without downloading and installing. Some of the most appealing examples to understand the concept of PWA are Spotify, Starbucks, and Pinterest.
What is a Native Application?
Native mobile apps are platform dependent, they are designed to work ideally on either Android or iOS platforms. As a result, a native app can properly avail the usefulness that a device offers.
Unlike PWA, the user has to download the application on their mobile device from the respective Play Store or App Store. Native apps are probably the best choice for brands that aim to build a deeper customer relationship.
PWA Vs. Native Apps: Detailed Comparison
Native App: Native apps tech-stacks are platform specific for mobile devices, such as Java for Android and Objective-C & Swift for iOS platform.
PWA: A single codebase can work effectively on multiple platforms. The current website can also be customized by using supported technologies rather than developing an entire app from the start. With responsive design, the upgrades or changes get easily reflected on all devices with the same version of the app. Such flexibility in development makes it quite cost-efficient and time-saving as well.
Native App: Native App development supports some specific tech stacks and requires a version to deploy upgrades. As a result, the Android and iOS app’s new version release requires at least another version in the backup. This takes a lot of time and money as per the project’s complexity.
App Development & Deployment
PWA: The PWA app development and deployment process is quite quick as compared to Native apps, it is so because;
- PWA is a website, which demands a single team of web developers to build it. Whereas, the deployment of the app is much faster as the service workers, Lighthouse, or other tools can manage it easily.
- It doesn’t require App Store validation or submission of the app on the App Store to seek its approval. Whereas, once the PWA is developed and published on the web server – it is available for users.
Native App: To develop Android and iOS Native apps, two separate teams of experts are required for each platform. If the development for both platforms is started at the same time, then also it will take longer development time to integrate the same functionalities on both apps.
On the other hand, to deploy the app, it seeks app deployment approval from the respective platforms which is also quite a time taking process of about 2 to 4 days.
Overall, Native app development requires comparatively higher development time and deployment time as well against PWAs.
PWA: The user doesn’t need to download and install the app on their device. They can simply search the PWA site via Google and access it directly. If needed, the user can also allow the option of “Add to Home Screen” to fasten the site access in the future.
Native App: For Native apps, the user has to search for the presence of that specific app on the App/Play Store among the millions of apps, then download the app and install it. Then only the user can access the apps’ services for the very first time, however later on it would be easier to access those services.
Hence, installing a Native app takes comparatively more time, and struggle to find the right solution as compared to PWAs. So, PWAs can help to acquire more new users conveniently.
PWA: User Engagement is the essence that defines the business’s success – the more the user spends time on your platform, the more they will make purchases. For that, Push Notification is one of the crucial features to avail.
Only Android devices support push notification features with PWAs, whereas there is no such functionality support with iOS devices.
Native App: In native apps, the Push Notification works very accurately to promote user engagement. This feature does not rely on the Operating System or device model. Once the user installed the app on their device, they will start getting Push Notifications on their devices.
In this feature, the PWAs lack behind Native Apps.
PWA: In Progressive Web Apps, the users can avail of the feature of accessing the platform in offline mode as well. Moreover, it works well in poor or low connectivity areas, as compared to native apps. The platform pre-caches or uploads the content, which the user can access later in the offline mode, but only the previously accessed pages, not the other pages.
Native App: In native apps, the app work quite effectively as it does in PWA in offline mode. In these apps, the content and functionality are shown, which is managed to be cached when the connection was on. All these details get available only because of local storage on users’ devices and smooth data synchronization with the cloud.
In simple terms, the capacity of PWA and native mobile apps is nearly the same. As they work differently, but offer almost a similar offline mode experience.
Device Feature Accessibility
PWA: For an app getting access to a multitude of mobile device features is an excellent marketing medium. As the PWAs run on the mobile browser, these apps lack such support and have to go with restricted hardware functionality access.
In Android devices, PWA only supports the features maintained by HTML5. In iOS, PWAs couldn’t work with primary features like Siri, Face & Touch ID, in-app payment, and more.
Native: Native apps support brilliant customer and business interaction by accessing the varied features of the device, such as camera, GPS, microphone, Bluetooth, etc. This helps businesses to reach out to their target audience, send relevant messages, and do other specific activities in a very precise manner.
PWA: The PWA app security relies on the browser on which the user is accessing the services. The browser sandbox and its capabilities are highly restricted, and can only access the browser’s resources, what the browser allows. This isolates the app from the mobile device hardware and the user’s sensitive data. So, the user data and interaction with the app are safe.
Native: Native apps can avail of multi-factor authentication and provide safer communication with certificate security. Additionally, enhances security with the respective platform’s Google Play and App Store authentication. As a result, native apps are highly reliable and secure than accessing the app from a URL.
When Do You Need To Create A PWA or A Native App?
Both PWA and Native Apps have some strengths and weaknesses. While selecting the one, you should look for the aptest option that supports your business growth and perfectly depicts your app vision.
Consider PWA if;
- It is handy to go with PWAs if you are introducing your business in the market and aiming to deploy a simple app for your users. The PWA doesn’t require app downloads and ensures customer engagement via the Push Notification feature.
- PWAs are comparatively budget-friendly and take less development time, with no such deployment time as with native apps.
- PWAs are more like any website, so you can make them SEO-friendly to improve brand awareness and reach a wider audience at minimal expense.
Consider Native App if;
- You can build your brand credibility by publishing the app on the respective app stores. As users highly rely and trust on such app stores for their quality services and addon securities norms. Hence, your apps are fulfilling all such criteria which build a trustable and reliable relationship with the user.
- You can avail of advanced features of the user device by integrating various services like geofencing and sensor/detection, camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and more. Additionally, can also use device data to ensure the smooth working or quick processes of the app.
In the Nutshell
PWAs and Native apps are the two different options to take your business online but both have some advantages and drawbacks based on individual business requirements. Both models are going to stay in the market, and the selection can be made according to project demands and goals.
Here, at Codiant, we help our clients in introducing their digital solution which could be a PWA or a Native app. For further detailed discussion and assistance in choosing the right solution or app development services, you can reach out to our business experts. We assure to assist you with the best solution for your business.