Mobile Application Architecture | Native Mobile, PWA, and Hybrid Apps

Skip navigation

“Application leaders should expect to simultaneously use multiple architectures such as web, progressive web app (PWA), hybrid and native.1

There are two types of mobile applications: apps that you install from an app store (native and hybrid) and apps you run in a mobile browser (responsive web and PWAs).

Native is by far the best app-store-based experience and PWA is the best browser-based experience. By supporting both Native and PWA, Mendix empowers organizations to deliver best-of-breed mobile solutions for every situation.

1 Gartner, “Key Considerations When Building Web, Native or Hybrid Mobile Apps”, Published: 14 February 2020, ID: G00465982

Native Mobile Done Right, Quickly
Building native mobile apps is just as easy as building web apps – with Mendix.

Leveraging the React Native framework, Mendix enables you to create both iOS and Android apps from a single code base. And that model can share data and logic with web apps.

Factor in Mendix’s quick time to value and uncompromising architecture, and you’ve got a tool that gets native mobile apps into the hands of your customers and employees at speed and at scale.

Why native really matters

Delivering native mobile solutions to your users means your apps will have the same mobile experience as the apps they use in their everyday lives. Modern users want smooth, intuitive and interactive apps that are effortless and efficient.

Optimized for both performance and device interaction, Mendix’s native mobile platform seamlessly delivers features loved by both users and developers.

Features that users love:
Offline Functionality
Push Notifications
Gestures, Beacons, Fingerprint Scanning
Face ID
Barcode Scanning
Features that developers love:
One-click Publishing
Over-the-Air Updates
Instant Testing
Mobile Backend Services
Single codebase
Offline Sync
Progressive Web Apps

PWAs can be installed and launched from the device’s home screen, so it feels like an app – but without needing to go to the App Store. Client-side processing improves performance by rendering screens and executing logic locally on the device versus going back to the server. Plus, with PWA’s support of native features “like offline support and push notifications, developing complex hybrid apps can be a thing of the past.

PWAs are not just for mobile apps; they can improve the user experience and performance of desktop browser apps as well.

Mendix simplifies the creation of PWAs. And for use cases that require both a PWA and native app, you can leverage the same models, back-end services and application logic.

Delivering a great user experience for the web is a crucial component to any digital initiative. But even expert JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS developers say it’s time-consuming to create great, consistent experiences across form factors and mobile platforms. The Atlas UI Framework addresses this challenge, while remaining standards-based, open, and extensible.

We put responsive UI design in the hands of rapid developers through a fully open source, responsive framework integrated into the Mendix visual development environment.  With Mendix, even non-designers can quickly create rich, great looking apps that automatically adapt to device form factors.

Full-Featured Responsive Apps
All features are available on every type of device — phone, tablet, or desktop.
  • Responsive Layouts

    Layouts control your app’s navigation and how content is rendered on the screen. Responsive layouts include options for all navigation styles — top-bar, side-bar, main, and sub menu and are available with every theme.

  • Page Templates

    Choose from a wide array of out-of-the-box templates for a vast range of page types, including overview, master-detail, dashboard, location and wizard. Our UI framework also comes with a fully responsive layout grid so you can define specific layout behavior for smartphone, tablet and desktop.

  • Building Blocks

    Speed up development of custom pages using building blocks: assemblies of multiple, pre-configured widgets that you can drag and drop into pages to implement common UI patterns, such as headers, timelines, and wizards.

  • Widgets

    Further build out your pages by adding additional widgets from the rich set of user interface elements that come with the platform, as well as an ever-expanding set of widgets found in the Mendix App Store.

  • Design Properties

    Widgets are styled automatically according to the theme you select, but the styling and placement can be customized on a case-by-case basis using design properties.

Choosing the right mobile architecture

Gartner, “Key Considerations When Building Web, Native or Hybrid Mobile Apps”, Published: 14 February 2020, ID: G00465982

Should you build a mobile web, progressive web, hybrid, or native mobile app?

In Gartner’s Key Considerations When Building Web, Native or Hybrid Mobile Apps, they asked the same question. They concluded that “Application leaders should expect to simultaneously use multiple architectures such as web, progressive web app (PWA), hybrid and native.”

At Mendix, we recommend a different approach: best-of-breed.

Analyzing Gartner’s Mobile Architectural Trade-Offs, when cost and code portability are eliminated from the equation, Native is BY FAR the best option for app-store-based experiences and PWA is the best browser-based option.

With Mendix, our low-code platform eliminates the need to make decisions based on cost and code portability, enabling you to build the best app-store-based experiences (native) and browser-based experiences (PWA).

Where does Mendix stand apart? Native.

Most low-code vendors allow you to build PWAs for the best browser-based experiences, but they won’t support native for the best app-store-based experiences.

And don’t be fooled by claims that hybrid is as good as native. They are not – check out the graphic above. There is an undeniable difference in performance, device integration and overall richness of the user experience. Native is better.

End users — regardless of whether they are coworkers or customers — expect superb, modern mobile apps. As expectation continue to rise, native mobile is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s becoming a must-have.

With Mendix, you can quickly deliver best-of-breed app-store-based and browser-based experiences – or a combination of both – from a single low-code platform.


Turbo-charge PWA mobile development

Leverage native capabilities from the browser that used to require a hybrid container.

Under the hood, PWAs get the same building blocks as responsive web apps.

All the building blocks for device installation, home-screen icon, and full-screen viewing.

Visual development means any developer can create great PWAs.

Turbo-charge native mobile development

Unlike hybrid mobile apps, there’s no more cumbersome coding to mimic native features.

Under the hood, apps get the same native building blocks as those built using Swift (iOS) and Java (Android).

Native components available from our App Store, the React Native community or create your own with JavaScript and React.

Visual development greatly simplifies and speeds development. Leverage code from your Mendix web applications.