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WeChat App VS WeChat Mini Program

WeChat App VS WeChat Mini Program

As it has already been said in some previous articles, there is no need to present you WeChat. According to the latest news this monstrous App will soon reach 900 million users.

The focus of this article will be comparison of Mini Program and WeChat APP. You are maybe not aware of these two things and how they are different but you will understand once you will have fully read the article.

What is a Mini Program?

In one of the previous article we talked about the Mini Program (Mini App). To summarize, it is a sort of ”small application” quite basic that we can download when we need it either by scanning a QR code or searching it through WeChat. Once downloaded it will go straight to your WeChat Store.

What is a WeChat App?

It is a concept/idea that the company QPSoftware is using to help its clients. It is more commonly called a Web App. Even before the WeChat-world as talking about the Mini Programs, they started to develop some App through WeChat. That means they are using the API of WeChat to be able to build an App for some clients.

What are the differences between a native App and WeChat App?

To be able to develop some native App, either on Android or iOS, the developers have to understand and know the specificities of these programming languages. Moreover, the language for an Android App or an iOS App are totally different as well. That means even in the native Apps there are different programming languages (note: that is not the only difference between Android and iOS). Regarding the WeChat Apps, they will use the API of WeChat, that means they will use a programming language specific to WeChat.

Another difference is that you need to download a native App but you do not need to download it when you have a WeChat App. There is no need to go to the App Store or Play Store to download this App. Just a link or a QR code is enough to get access to the App.

Last and not least, the price. The price of the development of a WeChat App (depending on the specs) would be cheaper than the development of a native App both for Android and iOS.

What are the differences between a Mini Program and a WeChat App?

These two kinds of App are quite different. The first one, Mini Program, has been developed by Tecent – WeChat. That means they are using the WeChat framework and it is not the case of those WeChat App.

Moreover, what makes them convenient is they are located on the Tencent’s servers so that means they are optimized to use them with WeChat. The WeChat App are not located on the Tencent’s servers, they are located on the servers of the company that developed the Apps and here that means they are on the QPSoftware’s servers.

An incoveninet point of these Mini Programs are that they are very limited. They have been released earlier this year so they are quite basic and quite simple. Moroever, the Mini Program’s developers are limited with only 2MO of development. That’s not the case of the WeChat App developed by QPSoftware. In their case, there is almost no limitation in the development these App can be as fast and complex as a native App.

One interesting feature from the Mini Program that you can combine them with you Official Account. That means when you enter in the Official Account profile you will be able to see if there is a Mini Program related to it or not. It is quite convenient but if you have an Official Account you can also configure it and display the link/QR code of your WeChat App.

Besides, some people told us that these WeChat App were quite slow. It can be but if you have a good framework and a good server it is fine. It will as fast as the Mini Programs or even faster sometimes.

Obviously, if you use a Mini Program you will have to pay through WeChat Pay. You are blocked and limited to this only payment method. Regarding to the WeChat App, even if they are developed with the WeChat’s API it is possible to integrate different payment method such as Alipay and UnionPay.

At the moment, the Mini Programs are only available in Chinese. That is not the case of the WeChat App, they can be in any language you want.

As we need one of the most features of WeChat is the WeChat Moments but here the WeChat mini-programs cannot be shared on it. The sharing feature is limited to the groups and individuals. Regarding the WeChat App, they can be shared to anyone and anywhere.

What is the general opinion?

There are two sides regarding the Mini Programs. On one hand, they are interested by these new options in WeChat. But there are too simple and basic at the moment, they will need more development. On the other hand, they do not appreciate them and thing they will not be very useful. It is just getting some interest because it is not and sort of trendy but it will lose its interest soon.

Moreover, if you have followed the latest new about Alipay, they have just released their own Mini Programs to respond to WeChat. It is becoming a real mess. Indeed, all these new Mini Programs have their own framework, that means that the developers have to learn a new language to be able to code. Let’s have a look at these different frameworks available at the moment:

  • Java for Android
  • Swift for iOS
  • WeChat mini-programs framework
  • Alipay mini-program frameworks
  • One general web framework for website (React, Angular, Ember, there are multiple standards here)
  • It is obviously just for the front-end part (the part the users are going to see). The developers have to also learn the back-end frameworks (to be able to manage the data) such as Node, Ruby, Scala, Go, Python and more...

As you can see so many different frameworks to learn to be able to code for different platforms. That is why using the WeChat App is very convenient and simple instead of learning these new Mini Programs (either WeChat or Alipay) and furthermore these tools are new and maybe very well be about to crash into a wall.

What is your next step?

WeChat is unavoidable in China and they try to develop new technologies to make it even more unavoidable but at this time it is really too early to believe that the Mini Programs will be as successful as WeChat itself. The other option is these WeChat Apps we talked about. If you have. That is why if you are interested by these WeChat App or even to get more information about the Mini Programs do not hesitate to follow us and if you have any question or interest in WeChat Apps for business purpose (the development of a WeChat App) do not hesitate to contact us we will be glad to help you. 

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Built on a philosophy of talented people and great results, QPSoftware LTD is a results-driven, full-service digital agency in Shanghai specializing in website design, WeChat/Mobile app development and digital marketing.

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