Mobile App Development: Native Vs HTML 5

6 mins read

31 Jan, 2017

The growing popularity of mobile devices allows web designers and developers to create highly interactive and dynamic web applications that can run smoothly on different devices. With the use of modern web-based programming languages, it becomes quite easy to build an interactive mobile app. HTML5 is one of the best techniques for building fully-functional web apps. When you have an app development project, is it better to write a HTML5 mobile app or to go with native code instead?

 HTML5 or native app Development

One clearly needs to understand that user experience trumps everything else when it comes to mobile apps and it is a known fact that native apps perform well. No one has time for bad user experience, especially your customers.

Only 79% of consumers only retry a mobile app only once or twice if it fails to work the first time.Only 16% would give it more than two attempts. Poor mobile experience is likely to discourage users from using your mobile app again.

The mobile ecosystem continues to witness a radical change. However to decide on building a HTML5 web app or native app, one needs to understand the habits of your target audience to manage your business efficiently. Below is a quick overview of the benefits and drawbacks of Native apps and HTML5 apps in mobile app development. There are very real arguments to be made for each approach.

Mobile App Development: Native Vs HTML 5


HTML5 use a combination of programming languages like CSS, JavaScript, and HTML5 and hence can run on any mobile platform. These apps are basically a series of web pages that are designed to work on a small screen. While app developers can create sophisticated apps with HTML5 and JavaScript alone, some vital limitations remain at the time of coding – like session management, secure offline storage, and access to native device functionalities (camera, calendar, geo-location, etc.).

Benefits of Making Mobile Apps on HTML5

HTML5 is believed to solve all sorts of compatibility and speed problems and hence, HTML5 mobile appshave a clear advantage. They are easier and cheaper to create because so many people know JavaScript. And since JavaScript runs on any browser, HTML5 app will run on any mobile device. If you are proficient in building web apps, you are 90% of the way to creating HTML5 mobile apps. They are best suited for lightweight applications, a good option for budget-conscious mobile app developers. They are easier to develop, easier to support and can reach the widest range of devices – so where do these apps lose out?

Drawbacks of Making Mobile Apps on HTML5:

Every mobile device has its own functional screen size and resolution and hence there is an additional burden of testing HTML5 apps on different devices. Creating large and heavy apps, like gaming apps are difficult to manage with HTML5. Besides, HTML5 apps cannot be used offline. These apps run on a browser and lack the desired quality from a UX perspective.

Native Apps

Native apps are platform specific, that is – apps built on Android or iOS are called Native apps. Native apps are usually developed using an integrated app development environment (IDE), which provide tools for debugging, project management, version control, and other tools a professional developer needs. Aspects such as speed, stability, smooth transition and ease of maintenance are major selling points.

When the app is native, you have the ability to take advantage of all the different built-in elements of the underlying platform. Users have become so accustomed to these rich experiences that even a minute change to HTML5 becomes noticeable…leads to users not enjoying it and not using it much.

Benefits of Making Mobile Apps on Native

Unlike an HTML5 mobile app, a native app is compiled, typically leading to better performance. If you want to use the accelerometer or GPS, HTML5 may not give you enough control. Moreover, there are features; developers might not be able to code in JavaScript. Native apps fire up immediately – you get fast performance, consistent platform look & feel, and give you an update when needed. Native apps give you everything that you would expect. As native apps are available through standard device marketplace, they are a good source of revenue.

Drawbacks of Making Mobile Apps on Native

Managing native apps becomes difficult at times, as app developers need to follow several rules and regulations. One major drawback is that the mobile app is restricted to a particular platform. Besides native apps require dedicated resources to design, develop and maintain apps for their respective platforms. But with any native apps, you need cross-platform support for Android and iOS, as one is looking at two different development teams. That alone significantly increases the cost. There are no substitutes for natively written apps.


HTML5 has made much good progress in the past few years, while app developers still cite HTML5 as the most-used mobile platform. Studies have shown that organizations opting for HTML5 or hybrid app get disappointed with their customer’s response. The companies who put out native apps, on the contrary gain an instant competitive advantage. HTML5 apps provide the “good enough” experience but may leave users feeling like they are missing out on something – that smooth user experience. In a nutshell, native apps provide the best usability, the best features, and the best overall mobile experience.

Eight years after the release of first iPhone – the first smartphone; we simply cannot imagine the world without the excellent customer centric mobile apps. If you plan to make a gaming app then a Native solution would sound much better. On the other side, if you simply want news based mobile app, HTML5 would sound better. Thus choose the development method based on the kind of mobile app you have in mind.

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