Native vs PWA

Native vs PWA

A native application is a software program that is developed for use on a particular platform or device. Because a native app is built for use on a particular device and its OS, it has the ability to use device-specific hardware and software. Native apps can provide optimized performance and take advantage of the latest technology, such as a GPS, compared to web apps or mobile cloud apps developed to be generic across multiple systems. The term native app is used to refer to platforms such as Mac and PC. However, in the context of mobile web apps, the term native app is used to mean any application written to work on a specific device platform.

On the other hand, Progressive web applications (PWAs) are web applications that load like regular web pages or websites but can offer the user functionality such as working offline, push notifications, and device hardware access traditionally available only to native applications. PWAs combine the flexibility of the web with the experience of a native application. In 2015, designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome engineer Alex Russell coined the term "progressive web apps" to describe apps taking advantage of new features supported by modern browsers, including service workers and web app manifests, that let users upgrade web apps to progressive web applications in their native operating system. Progressive web apps are an enhancement of existing web technology.

The differences between PWA and Native apps

  • PWAs offer the promise of being able to develop a single app and have it work perfectly across all your platforms and devices.

  • A progressive web app can help a business quickly reach the maximum number of people possible across all desired platforms with relatively less development effort.

  • A PWA, unlike its native counterparts, does not require installation prior to usage.

  • PWA is a vastly improved app cross-functionality that means switching between apps and sharing information between them becomes less intrusive or frustrating.

  • PWA is much faster and more intuitive.

  • Progressive web apps have limited capabilities when it comes to offering integration with a smartphone or tablet hardware features.

  • Using a PWA largely eliminates the problem of software “fragmentation” that may force a company needing to extend legacy support to old versions or risk cutting off sections of the user base until they initiate an update.

  • PWAs offer a complete user experience on mobile without the need to download and install an app.

  • As PWAs increase the functionality they offer and expand their offline capabilities to integrate Bluetooth, NFC, and other hardware functions and sensors on mobile devices, the list of reasons to consider them is growing. On the other hand, the native app business is still the most reliable one. It still provides an experience that may not be achievable through PWA for quite awhile.

  • Native apps can very well use the inbuilt features of mobile phone like camera, GPS which provide a better user experience.

  • Native apps are secured, they use security features of the mobile.

  • Native apps are highly efficient and provide a better user experience.

  • Regular native apps updates are provided to improve the functionality.

  • It is impossible to monetize your application with a PWA.

  • PWA is not perfectly supported by all web browsers.

  • Although PWA uses secure URL in https, native applications remain a more secure and reliable way of accessing information.

  • The native app performs better than Progressive Web App: user navigation is faster, smoother and more enjoyable.

  • A native app is able to interact with other native applications.

  • Native applications offer greater possibilities in terms of interface and user experience.

  • While in PWA App, all users have to do is click on a link and launch the app, which in case of Native becomes a multi-step process starting with finding an app on the store to downloading it and running it after giving it multiple permissions.

As time goes on, it will be interesting to see how these two offerings are going to shape the app development world. Will businesses look to utilize both PWA and native apps for a broader app experience or will they pick and choose one or the other?


Photograph by d1sk

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