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7 Things to Consider Before Developing a Hybrid Mobile App

by Sharon James

With the Digital Era taking the world by a storm, every individual has become too dependent on technology, be it for shopping, banking, communicating, etc. Gone are the days when people would often step out of their house to get things done. The Digital Revolution makes it easier for everyone to get things done just at the click of a few buttons sitting at home or work-place.

People prefer accessing the Mobile App rather than accessing the website on the desktop. Consequently, what you now have is a plethora of Mobile Applications almost for every single thing you can possibly imagine – one can find a large number of Mobile Applications on Google Play Store as well as on Apple iTunes Store. This has led to too many people inclined towards developing Mobile Apps, notably Hybrid Mobile Apps.

Definition of Hybrid Mobile Apps

If one were to define Hybrid Mobile Apps, it would be defined as, "a technology that enables developers to use web technologies (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) to target multiple mobile platforms from a single code base, rather than writing native codes (Objective-C, Swift, Java) for each platform separately."

In simpler words, Hybrid Mobile App is a one that is written with the same technology used for websites and mobile web implementations and is housed/runs inside a native container on a mobile device. The Hybrid App combines native apps with web technologies (HTML, JavaScript, CSS).

Native Apps are developed for a specific operating system, using a programming language such as Java, Objective-C, Swift, etc. However, a Native App developed for an Android-based device won't work for IOS and vice-a-versa; which is what a Hybrid App does typically.

In order to develop a Hybrid Mobile App, one has to keep in mind specific requisites while preparing them.

  1. Ensuring the App gives similar User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX):

    Android-based Apps and that of IOS have their own user interface and user experience and different design language. Mobile App developers generally ensure they give the user a comfortable home-like feeling within the App. For instance, iOS control has the option to click to change tabs. However, in Android Apps, you can hide items if it is a long list, and the App can be swiped right or left to initiate a tab transition. Similarly, Android-based mobiles have a physical back button, whereas iOS apps often have a back or implement the swipe left to go back. All of these are not apparent in the Hybrid Apps. Although the Hybrid App can provide you with a similar function, it would take a certain amount of time for the user to get accustomed. Most of the time, the success of a Mobile App depends on how user-friendly it is; many times, a user will not come back to the App if it is non-friendly and too complex to navigate.

  2. Features that may require native code:

    A significant point for the Mobile App developers is to figure out what can be done only natively and what can be done entirely with a hybrid code. It is often said to follow the golden rule that if you have seen a website do it, it can be done using hybrid systems and if it is not, it then needs to be done using native codes. For example, accessing a customer's location, simple animation, and styling of a page are some of the non-native features. On the other hand, accessing a customer's camera or photographs and passing control to customer's Social Media app for secure authentication are considered as native features.

  3. Interactive aspect consideration:

    Imagine you are watching Netflix or Prime Video. You are watching the app but not so much interacting with it. the apps that require less interaction can be managed by hybrid apps and do better than native apps. Using HTML works well where there are minimum interaction and maximum output requirements. The nativity of the app makes it easier in case of highly interactive apps like games that are interactive, learning games, etc.

  4. Hybrid Framework:

    Hybrid App, as the definition goes, is built by using several app frameworks whereas, on the other hand, native apps generally are well established and are one of the well-documented technology stacks. Moreover, with so many frameworks used for developing a hybrid app, it is required to be seen whether they will exist in the years to come. Few of them may see losing out to newer technology or may become costlier to maintain. It is, therefore, essential to choose the right Hybrid Framework.

  5. Keeping speed in mind:

    When you are constructing an app, the main point to keep in mind is the speed of the application. Many times, we come across some applications which really test our patience. Research has shown, that a user has grown considerably impatient over the years toward speed. Hybrid apps are multi-layered in their development. Hybrid apps use a layer between the user and the application which is absent in the case of native apps. There is no point in developing a slow app that renders the user irate and gives it a lousy rating on the google or play store. It has been shown that hybrid apps react to a minimum of thrice as slower than a native app.

  6. Limitations of Hybrid App:

    Many popular gaming apps are developed using native codes; simply because hybrid apps are not the correct choice for animation or graphic-intensive apps such as interactive games/rich-media. Animations using hybrid App will not be smooth as that of native apps; they often appear slow during page and tab transitions. Moreover, in such a case, the hybrid mobile App uses a substantial amount of memory; as a result, one cannot use such a hybrid app.

  7. Ease of access:

    The main difference between native and hybrid apps is the ease of familiarity. Native apps have a more familiar interface, feel and navigation. Developers already are in the know-how, how a native android or iOS app works and how they can code and decode it. since users are also well acquainted with native apps, migrating to hybrid applications becomes a little uneasy. Hybrid apps have the need to collude with third party frameworks to keep up with the android and iOS updates.

Summing It Up

Although going the Hybrid approach is a welcome move for a Mobile App development, it can also cost you more than the native approach. For a more conservative budget, this may become an expensive approach. Therefore, the economic aspect and the return on investment that you seek through this approach, also need to be factored.

One needs to also keep in mind the satisfaction of the end-user; people prefer a smooth and fast-paced Mobile App with comfortable UI/UX features. It is, therefore, essential to weigh all the pros and cons before adopting to Hybrid approach.