Hybrid App Development: What it is & why should you consider it?

Native App VS Hybrid App Development

Hybrid app development or cross platform app development has no specific outlook that distinguished it from the rest of the mobile apps on your device. They just are coded differently, which is something the user won’t have to know. They can play games, shop or socialize without having to worry about anything.  These mobile applications are programmed with website technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. The very best of the hybrid app development examples (or apps that choose to convert to cross-platform app development structure) that you might be familiar with are:

  • Apple App Store
  • Twitter
  • Amazon Appstore
  • Gmail
  • Uber
  • Instagram
  • Yelp
  • Basecamp

Wondering why develop them at all? Why not stick to native app development?

The answer is that a hybrid mobile application offers all the flexibility of web but since it’s given a light native app container and uses the ‘WebView’; it has access to device’s hardware features like camera, calendar, push notification and GPS. Native apps have their own distinguished merits but they tend to go well above your budget. Plus, they are developed for a specific OS, which means you can miss out on a huge chunk of the target market that’s using other devices.

Why & When Should You Think About Going Hybrid?

Hybrid app development or cross platform app development offers developers to re-use their coding skills (programming languages, SDKs, and libraries). That means that an iOS developer can develop an app that can run on both apple and android devices. It also accelerates the pace of project programming.

For Hybrid apps to work flawlessly, you also require a master developer. The expert developers would be mindful of the set of programming exercised by each OS, especially when it comes to Android OS which has inconsistent rules over different versions (ice-cream sandwich, kit-kat, jellybean, lollipop, marshmallow, nougat, Oreo…). Your mobile app developers should be able to manipulate and create plugin and platform specific codes to incorporate complete app functionality.

Once you have decided to develop a cross platform mobile application, there are some aspects you need to evaluate first. This will help you determine if your chosen strategy would indeed work and has potential/ technical merits.

  • You should know the mobile platform you need to target. (One that houses most of your target audience)

Hybrid offers you to target more than one mobile platforms. Native has a more exclusive approach, which relies on OS-specific SDKs and programming languages (Swift, Objective-C for iOS, C# for Windows and Java for Android).

  • Whether you are going to submit your app to an app store for distribution

As you might well be aware you cannot distribute websites on app stores. Hybrid app with their native containers will be accepted by the app stores of all mobile operating systems. However, you should also have a website that will offer your application’s downloads. You will notice all major apps have corresponding websites. They do it because it offers users an easy way to access them in case something goes wrong.

  • Whether you need access to the hardware device features

    Web browsers enforce certain restrictions and control any website’s access to the user device. Recently some developments have relaxed the rules of mobile browsers to become more device capabilities but it’s still limited as compared to apps. One of many advantages of hybrid apps is that they don’t have to conform to these restrictions.

Another important fact! Let’s say you are developing a game app, in which case you should prefer native app development. Because native app offers a better graphical interface, which is imperative for a gaming app. Although there a number of solutions for hybrid game app development like using HTML 5Canvas & WebGL, Paper.js, EaselJSetc.

  • Whether you have the resource (technical and human) to pull off the project in its entirety

Like we earlier said, you will need an expert developer who is experienced in all the related tools and frameworks needed for programming. You can also hire a team instead of one developer, to ensure that all aspects are executed to perfection.

  • Whether the cons of hybrid application development are acceptable

Cross platform development has its own downside. You need to be sure that these conditions are acceptable for your brand and your customers before moving on to the development phase.

Development of Hybrid Mobile Apps:

Programming of hybrid applications resembles that of websites. Both use front-end technological combination of HTML, CSS, and JS; they differ only where targeting comes into play, a website targets mobile browser and cross-platform app targets WebView (a browser like component enables it to use hardware features). To access this hardware, APIs and natively coded plugins are used.

Nowadays, when more mobile app development teams are considering the hybrid structure, more tools and technologies are being invented to facilitate the programming. Highly powered frameworks are bringing the native app features to the cross platform apps and making them more feature-rich. These frameworks, like traditional web app programming frameworks, have code libraries & APIs.

Popular Cross Platform/ Hybrid App Development Frameworks

Ionic

A free, open source web-based framework that offers added advantages of Angular JS and Bootstrap 3 elements. Made strictly for the hybrid platform, these frameworks use web technologies (CSS, JavaScript, HTML) and various third-party plugin and extensions. Ionic is easy to use and easy to learn, unlike its more complicated counterparts like jQuery Mobile. You need only install Node.js development environment.

Phone Gap/ Apache Cordova

It is a web-based development framework that’s enriched in JavaScript APIs, enabling access to device’s hardware (camera, vibration, screen touch and more.)

Sencha Touch 2

It’s an HTML 5 app framework that can create apps for multiple platforms like iOS, Android, and Blackberry. It’s popular because it can provide a native app like feel. It uses HTML 5, JS and often supports a responsive UI.

Conclusion:

For developers who want to dabble in hybrid app development, they ought to start building an app prototype in Apache Cordova and evaluate the result. Check NativeScript platform, which is integrated with popular IDEs like Visual Studio and Sublime Text and provides a number of project templates that can hasten your project programming.

By |2018-05-29T06:32:27+00:00March 2nd, 2018|