Hybrid app development services are gaining in popularity amongst mobile developers with more and more businesses opting for it. At the same time, the debate over whether a business should develop a hybrid mobile app or a native one rages on as both sides present their own set of pros and cons. Before we get into the topic, let us understand what hybrid apps are and how are they different from native apps.
On most occasions, developers as well as business owners are concerned with the time and the cost to build an application. This is the main reason that leads people to choose a hybrid application over a native one. A hybrid app is able to work across multiple platforms and behave just like a native app. It can be easily regarded as a combination of a web app and a native app.
Hybrid mobile app development is sometimes preferred over native app development as they use only one codebase for all platforms so are easy to make. Hybrid apps do not require access to a device’s internal APIs or hardware, and don’t even need a web browser like in the case of web apps.
Hybrid apps are however slower than native apps, and require expert developers for hybrid app development. They are expensive, and each customization increases their cost manifolds.
The decision to go in for native or hybrid app development should be based on a business’ well-defined objectives. The business should consider a few vital factors before making the final decision. These factors include:
- Speed of the app
- User experience quality
- Complexity of features to be introduced in the app
Irrespective of the approach, the app should be built to be quick, responsive, and reliable.
Any developer must be aware of and take into consideration the following three things before building hybrid apps:
1. The Features Required
The most important thing is to identify the features that are planned in the app so as to ascertain whether they can be done in hybrid or only be done in a native application. Hybrid applications make use of a wrapper that enables the app to run on a specific platform. Cordova and Phonegap, for example, often utilize libraries that allow the users to make use of native functionality in a hybrid application.
2. Performance Expectations
It is no secret that hybrid applications are slower than native apps. They have certain limitations when compared with native applications – like speed, more memory usage, and instability in a few cases. Hybrid applications have proven to not be a good choice for handling the high-quality graphics and animation which are needed by most interactive mobile game applications. If the interface that the developer wants for different devices is not the same, then he should not go in for a hybrid application. A native application is a better fit in such a scenario.
3. The Frameworks to be Used
Native apps, in most cases, have a very well-established as well as a well-documented technology stack. Most Android apps are written in Java Language and they are built in the same manner. iOS apps, on the other hand, can be written in either Objective-C or Swift, but there is a large community of developers and a large knowledge base supporting both.
Hybrid apps can be built using a number of app frameworks. While these frameworks offer more or less similar features, yet a hybrid app built on one framework cannot be rebuilt in a similar fashion with the other. For this reason, it is essential that the an informed decision regarding the choice of framework for the project be taken. Similarly, it is important that the developer be apprised of your decision to use a particular framework right at the start to avoid any confusion in future. Making this decision even more difficult is the availability of a large number of hybrid app frameworks in existence. A number of them are new while some have been in existence for the last one decade. By choosing the framework a developer will use for the business’s hybrid app, he isessentially betting on future success of the framework.
Deciding to choose native or hybrid for an application is not that hard. However, there is no right or wrong way to go about deciding this. It all depends on the individual needs of an application. Going hybrid can be a good choice to reduce development effort for any business’s mobile application. However, it comes with the risk that the app may not perform equally well on all target platforms. Having a good understanding about the limitations and the risks of hybrid apps and knowing the business priorities and requirements are a good start when making the decision to go in for a hybrid app for any business. As user expectations from apps grow, it is important to meet the current requirements and try to make the app a little futuristic. The hybrid app thus created must be future-ready and in-line with the current as well as predicted trends for the industry.