There is a common misconception throughout the online world. That misconception is that mobile apps and web apps are the same things. When in fact, they differ on many levels. From the creation of both types of app to where you can access them. Some differences are subtle and some are more obvious. For this reason, it’s very important that you know the difference so you don’t mix them up!
In this article, we are going to jump in and identify the differences between the two. We will also look at the positives and negatives of both types of application. Let’s begin.
Mobile apps, often referred to as native mobile apps, are created for a specific operating system and are installed onto the device itself. What we mean by this is you create the application for either Apple’s iOS or Samsungs’ Android. A user then has to visit the app store or the Google play store to download the app onto their mobile.
Once the app is downloaded onto the mobile device, it has access to the phones resources such as GPS and the camera. This is why we have to allow access to our camera when using certain apps on our phone, take Snapchat for example. We have to allow access to our camera to take a photo and we also have to allow Snapchat to use our location. This is all down to the fact that Snapchat is a native mobile application and uses the phones resources for certain functions. There are thousands of mobile apps out there, most of them are probably on your mobile as you read this article. We’ve listed a few popular mobile apps below;
- Google Maps
- Facebook Messenger
Now we know what a mobile application is, let’s take a quick look at how they are built.
How are mobile apps built?
The way that mobile apps are built is one of their main cons. We’ve already mentioned that you need to create the app for iOS, Android, or both. And in this day and age, only putting your app on one of the two main mobile operating systems would be a huge mistake! So, you need to design and develop two versions of the app to suit each operating system. Be aware, this isn’t going to be cheap.
Before we continue, it’s worth mentioning that there are over 250 different ‘coding languages’. Each of these operating systems (iOS and Android) require you to develop the app using a different language. This is why you need to create two versions of the mobile app and why it can be so expensive. In all honesty, this depth of coding is extremely difficult. So, if I was you, I would outsource the job to a web guy in the know.
For those of you that are interested, Apple mobile apps are usually built using either Objective-C or Swift. Mobile apps for Android are usually built using Java. Let’s move on and take a look at web apps.
Web apps differ from mobile apps as they are accessed via the internet browser through the mobile device. The web app will adapt to whichever device they are accessed on. The operating system is irrelevant and the app will look the same on both iOS and Android. This is one of the main benefits of web apps.
Also, web apps don’t need to be downloaded or installed onto the device itself. This means any mobile device that has access to the internet would be able to access the web app. For all intents and purposes, web apps look and feel like a mobile app which is where all this confusion comes from.
As a web app requires internet access, the speed and functionality of web apps rely on having an internet connection in the first place. For this reason, they cannot also be used offline, whereas mobile apps often can. We’ll take a look at all of the pros and cons of each at the end of this article. For now, let’s see a comparison between a mobile app and a web app…
Can you see how both look similar but one is going through the browser? Well, one the one going through the browser is the web app! The other, a mobile app.
How are web apps built?
Now you have an idea of the differences between a mobile app and a web app. Let’s take a look at the round-up of pros and cons for both of these types of applications.
The Pros and Cons of Mobile Apps and Web Apps