Hybrid Mobile App Development: When and Why To Choose For Your Business?

Choosing The Right Mobile App Development For Your Business

In this digital era of advanced business-technology trends, enterprise mobility is of prime importance. Mobile App developers are constantly on the hunt for the best platform for developing their applications. With more and more B2B enterprises adopting the mobile-first strategy, businesses choose the best mobile application development platform after evaluating their business goals and technical requirements.    

Enterprise mobile applications are categorized into three, namely, Native applications, Mobile Web applications, and Hybrid applications. Native applications are built for a specific platform. For instance, Facebook has individual applications for Android as well as iPhone users. 

Mobile Web applications, on the other hand, can be described as websites that are mobile optimized. Hybrid mobile applications, however, are a blend of both Native and Web technologies. Hybrid applications best suit cross-platform requirements and also ensures a cost-effective solution for businesses. 

Developing Native and Hybrid Apps 101

Why Opt For Hybrid Mobile App Development?

According to a survey by the Ionic Developer in 2017, 32.7% of developers among over 13,000 developers had completely abandoned native app development and were in favor of the Hybrid approach. What makes the native application development wane, compared to Hybrid mobile application development? It is the huge benefits of the latter, which we will be discussing below:

  • A hybrid mobile application is a native web application wrapped up within a native application. Technically, it is written using HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript. This is then compiled into either a native iOS, Android or other mobile platforms, using a wrapper technology such as Cordova or PhoneGap.
  • Hybrid applications make use of web technologies such as Javascript, HTML 5 and CSS3. Additionally, it can also access features from the native platforms. That is, hybrid mobile applications can access GPS, camera, contacts, etc and also being able to run on both Android and iOS platforms. 
  • Since hybrid platforms make use of a single code base to run on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows OS, these applications are platform-independent and require less development time.
  • Hybrid mobile applications support offline features such as local storage capabilities as it supports SQLite database.

Instagram, Yelp, Uber, BaseCamp, etc are examples of hybrid mobile applications. The major hybrid mobile application frameworks widely used are Ionic, Onsen UI, React Native, Apache Cordova or PhoneGap. With the advent of these frameworks, mobile application developers can now write code once and run anywhere.

When To Choose Hybrid Mobile App Development

Hybrid mobile applications can be a great option to choose based on several factors. One should consider the functional advantages as well as impacts of the selected approach, implementation methods, challenges, etc. Other key parameters to consider are development, implementation, cost, time-to-market, usability, and so on. 

The biggest advantage of a hybrid approach is that the shared code can be deployed across many platforms. This saves time and cost of application development. So when do you choose a Hybrid approach over native app development? Here’s what you have to ask yourself:

1.  Are you testing a hypothesis?

Consider the initial phase of developing your application. Deploying a hybrid application can be a better cost-effective solution over a native application. The choice is significantly valid when it comes to situations where you are running short of resources, you require user validation and feedback, and when you are aiming at a quick go-to-market strategy. 

2. Are you developing an enterprise application for internal use within your company?

The ‘Write Once And Deploy Anywhere’ functionality of hybrid applications is the best choice for internal users. There would not be a need to develop 2 separate applications, developed in each platform as the application requires just the basic functionalities. This also avoids the need to employ additional resources to deploy separate applications, as well.

Additional decision-making factors can be the following:

  • If your objective is to target multiple mobile platforms.
  • If you want to leverage additional benefits such as geolocation services, accelerometer, and so on.
  • If the mobile application needs to be used even under offline circumstances.
  • If advanced graphics capabilities are not major criteria.

Related Reading: You may also like to read about how to use mobile app data.

Advantages Of Hybrid Mobile Applications

1. Multi-platform Support

Hybrid applications can run on multiple platforms. It is just that a specific native container or a module must be developed for each platform. This could be challenging for old browsers as they do not support rich HTML features, hybrid applications can still make use of device detection technique to trim the feature for low-end devices.

2. Code Reusability and Duplication 

A hybrid application utilizes the same HTML content for all platforms. Thus, it leverages common server-side components. This is unlike native applications where code needs to be rewritten for each platform-supported language. This is why native applications require quite a lot of code duplication, which hybrid applications do not. 

3. Time-To-Market

Since hybrid applications are not platform-specific, it does not require to be tested and certified before hitting the market, unlike native applications. This saves time to develop and deploy. 

4. Usage Analytics

Working with hybrid applications makes usage logging easier. This is because the usage statistics of the existing web/ server-side applications can be used as such. This means that additional storage space to collect data, as a result of analytics performed, is not required. Thus, hybrid applications avoid the need for statistical data archival and purging tasks, unlike with pure native applications. 

5. Future Enhancements

Improvising existing features are simpler in case of hybrid applications. This is because it does not require any client application distribution. This feature helps users continue using the application even in cases of app updates. It also saves users from facing the threat of security patches.

6. Security Features

Since enterprise apps are exposed over the Web, there are risks of data thefts. Hybrid applications utilize the HTTPS protocol and make sure no sensitive data is stored on the device. 

Related Reading: Know which is the better choice for mobile app development: React Native Or Flutter

Don’ts While Using Hybrid Mobile Applications

Writing code once and being able to use it multiple times is a positive feature. That being said, make sure not to rule out the following before deciding to develop on a hybrid platform:

  • Do not intend to develop animated or graphic oriented applications.
  • Do not integrate heavy plug-ins, libraries like JQuery, and frameworks.
  • Do not try to load all views at once.
  • Do not choose a hybrid platform to develop complex multi-purpose applications.

Effective deployment of hybrid mobile applications can serve you as a boon. Be sure to understand the key Do’s and Don’t Do’s while deploying a hybrid platform for your application. 

Call our experts right away to learn more about why and when to choose a hybrid platform for developing your mobile application.

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Girish R

Girish R

Girish R, Programmer for 17 yrs, Blogger at Techathlon.com, LifeHacker, DIYer. He loves to write about technology, Open source & gadgets. He currently leads the mobile app development team at Fingent.

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