These days the tech options for mobile app development available to entrepreneurs are abundant. The main differences between them come down to implementation speed, cost, and final product quality. Understanding the differences between themas well as the various approaches to implementing them—is the tricky part.
So let’s unpack four popular mobile app technologies that will illustrate the common differences among them. These will help you identify the most practical way to validate your business idea and facilitate its concomitant product development.
This relatively new technology developed by Google enables mobile devices to add a website or web application to a smartphone's home screen and be able to interact with it offline.
To turn a regular web app into a progressive web app you just need to add a home screen icon, web application manifest, and service worker that allows the site to work offline and load faster, as well as to send push notifications. Note that when you load a progressive web app in your phone’s browser, it prompts the device to add the site to the home screen. Currently progressive web apps are not fully supported on iOS devices, but hopefully this will change in the near future.
Applications built using Apache Cordova work in a built-in browser environment (WebView) on different mobile platforms (Android, iOS) and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play Store. They come with an icon that exists on the home screen and they can interact with smartphone hardware APIs to enable functionality of device features (geolocation, camera, etc).
React is a great choice if your web app is built with React.js. It's one of the latest technologies in the world of hybrid apps, and migration from an existing web app can be done rather quickly. As a result, you get a mobile application that uses native components of your smartphone’s OS (native buttons, inputs, and other device features). Performance is good because your source code converts to a native mobile app rather than running in a built-in browser window.
Building native apps for every platform is the best choice in terms of performance and product quality but it is also the most expensive approach. If you have a web application already, you’ll only need to build mobile clients for Android mobile app and iOS mobile app, that will be connected to the same backend that your web client is. Minor changes may be still needed on the backend but this shouldn’t take much time.