Native apps or PWAs: Who will prevail? — Poll respondents choose the PWA way
Last month, we had a short discussion on the future of native apps and the rise of their rival, progressive web apps, and introduced a poll to find out your opinion on the topic. The results are in so let’s take a closer look!
Last month, we had a discussion on the future of native apps and their rival, Progressive Web Apps. It’s time to update this article with the results of the poll!
Our readers have spoken and the decision is final: PWAs are the future!
As Maxim Salnikov argued in an interview with JAXenter:
PWA is a natural choice if you wish to build offline-ready, installable, fast web application. Also, it gives the possibility to send push-notifications.
Readers seem to agree that PWAs are the way to go in app development and 46% of our poll respondents believe that they are definitely the future, while only 14% defend the future of native apps.
However, 24% of the respondents still believe that there is nothing other than the nature of an app to dictate whether PWA or native is the right choice.
If you want to have a quick look at the main pros and cons of PWAs and native apps, check out the discussion we had on the topic.
The discussion so far
As I have discussed in an earlier article, React Native is a steadily growing trend for building native mobile and currently has 69,469 stars on Github. What’s more, it is considered among the top freelance skills to have, according to the Upwork Skills Index.
However, when looking at the bigger picture, what is the state of native apps in general? Lately, I have seen a lot of debate going on about the best technology for developing your app with some arguing that Progressive Web Apps is going to be the future of app development.
I thought it was about time we had this discussion as well.
The trend of progressive web apps (PWAs) is gaining momentum with some experts even predicting that PWAs will replace native mobile apps.
But why is this the case? Why is one of the most established mobile technologies being debated so much lately? Let’s have a quick overview of the pros and cons for both PWAs and native apps.
Native apps are developed essentially for one particular mobile device and are installed directly onto the device itself.
- Native apps are simply faster
- Interact with each other providing the consistent user experience
- Presence of geofencing – super beneficial for business owners
- NFC support
- Source code only works on the targeted platform
- Developers need to know each of the platforms’ languages
- Doubled time and price of development
- Slower to market due to multiple source codes
On the other hand, we have PWAs which are app-like websites that combine best practices brought from mobile UX and deliver them to browsers. To put it simply, PWA is just a website that feels and looks like a native mobile app.
- Ability to use it instantly – no download/install time
- Compatibility with everything
- Responsive web design – easy implementation
- Forget the app store difficulties
- Faster and cheaper to develop
Now, the limitations PWAs can face are practically different in the case of comparison against native Android apps and native iOS apps. However, there are some general limitations that are common to both cases:
- Less performance compared to native apps
- Increased battery use compared to native apps
- Search traffic losses due to no presence on app stores
But wait! What about hybrid apps?
As Pietro Saccomani playfully explained, “if a native app and a web app got married and had a kid, it would be a hybrid app!”
Essentially, hybrid apps are installed like native apps but function as web apps. Some of the advantages include:
- One codebase to manage
- Time and money efficient
- Access to device features
However, nothing is drawback-free. Hybrid apps come with some disadvantages like pretty much everything in life:
- Questionable performance – since hybrid apps load in a browser-like component called webview, they are only as good as the webview
- Tough cross-platform development
- The UX of the app will suffer