Hybrid apps are an amazing blend of native apps and web solutions. However, as a mobile app developer, while building a hybrid app, there are certain important things you need to consider first. In this article, we will dive into it.
Among the mobile app development approaches (native, hybrid), hybrid app development is becoming a more popular and adaptable approach for mobile app retailers. According to a survey, 74% of the top 50 retail apps in the App Store are hybrid. Surprisingly shocked, right?
There were indeed days when native apps used to rule the app market, but the scenario is no longer valid now. The hybrid apps cover all the negative aspects of traditional native apps while also providing medium-to-high performance to app users. Uber, Twitter, Instagram, and Gmail are some widely known apps from app stores.
In this blog, we will cover all the aspects of hybrid mobile app development and the things that should be taken into account before building them.
So, let’s get started!
What is hybrid mobile app development?
As an example, in an iOS application, the WKWebView element is used to display the hybrid app, whereas, in an Android application, WebView is used.
Things you should know before building hybrid apps
Requires only a single codebase
As mentioned earlier, hybrid apps use a single codebase to extend the functionality and effectiveness of mobile apps across platforms. Because of this, the hybrid app drives down the initial development cost to almost half, providing substantial support in the initial stages.
Provide an excellent native experience
It is a true misconception that hybrid apps can’t provide a native experience. In reality, hybrid app development frameworks have access to the native APIs of smartphones. They can now borrow widgets, animations, other design elements, and other components from the native mobile app development library. And all this could become possible with the help of a plugin or direct integration via coding. Apps like Twitter or Instagram are aggressively using this feature.
Moreover, the user does not give a thought to what the underlying structure of a mobile application is. For them, the only thing that matters is the app’s interface and performance. And we feel good to say that the hybrid apps are standing out on this parameter.
Provides great potential for future app development
Hybrid apps hold great potential for innovative mobile apps. As these apps can be built using a number of languages and the frameworks have access to native APIs now, there is a lot of room for experimentation. And this futureproofs them.
Native apps on the other side are bound to only one language. As an example, for native Android apps, Java or Kotlin are the only languages to give their best shot; similarly, for native iOS apps, Objective-C or Swift are the options. This cuts down on the room for any innovative advancement.
Moreover, the indirect support from Google with the release of Flutter, a UI software development kit, to build cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, macOS, and the web, has given a thumbs up to the hybrid apps.
Reduced app development cost
We can’t pinpoint the exact development cost of mobile app development, be it native, hybrid, or web-based. However, one thing we can say with certainty is that hybrid apps cost a lesser amount to build as compared to other apps.
It is only their code-sharing feature that cuts down the app production cost for individual platforms. The developers you outsource or hire from within your team no longer invest as much time in re-writing the code and require less maintenance.
Delivers great performance
Many businesses have the misconception that hybrid apps lack the performance of native apps when compared. Whereas the truth is that even though they can’t beat their native APIs, they are still capable of delivering you the utmost performance.
Twitter, Uber, Gmail, and Instagram are some of the great hybrid app examples. Did you ever feel under-efficient while using these apps? No, right!
as hybrid app development is based on a single codebase. This eliminates the need for additional code that can lag the performance of your mobile application while at the same time providing a native-like experience. Hence, this results in greater performance.
Takes lesser time to market
With hybrid apps, you don’t just go bigger and better in terms of development and scalability; you can also market your app in a short period of time. Once you know your app has finished the development phase and passed the testing phase, you can simultaneously publish it on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
This way, you will have sufficient time to market your hybrid application, which in turn can impact the series of actions. For example, you can start receiving user feedback quicker, and then you can make adjustments to your app accordingly. And this process can go on indefinitely without any further delay, thus giving your business the maximum benefits.
A few downsides that you should know before start building hybrid apps
It is true that hybrid apps hold great potential for the future mobile app industry. However, it is always a wise thing to get yourself acquainted with all the pros and cons of hybrid apps before you invest any of your resources into their development. So, here are a very few of them:
Unable to utilise the full potential of a specific platform
Yes, hybrid frameworks now have access to native APIs in order to give a seamless native experience to users. And you might not find difficulty implementing hybrid app development into Android OS, but with iOS, we can’t say the same.
Apple devices are known for their power-packed performance. And the reason behind it is their combined efforts of hardware and software that are designed in a particular way to maximise the result. This is why, when foreign single-codebase app development is brought to them, the apps are not able to produce the maximum output from them.
Not suitable for gaming apps
The one market where hybrid apps can’t beat native apps is the animation and gaming industry. Such apps themselves consume a lot of RAM and overheat CPUs so as to produce a smooth and consistent experience.
And in a hybrid application environment, the shell is already consuming the RAM for the purpose of executing code in real time. And if any kind of animated element or visual effects is added, then it will make it even harder. As an experiment, run a heavy gaming native app while another is opened in the background. You will find a considerable amount of lag in your game, and this is while you are playing on the native app.
Thus, hybrid apps are at their best where there is no heavy demand for resources, whether it’s hardware or storage space.
Restricted user interface (UI)
Since hybrid apps use a single codebase for all platforms, this makes them limited in terms of UI. These apps can never beat the supremacy of native apps in terms of design and sleekness. As a result, this indirectly has an impact on the app’s performance.
For example, because of the addition of the webview elements, the navigation between pages takes a comparatively longer time. This is one of the factors that can make or break the success of an app, so it should be taken into account.
The Bottom Line
Hybrid mobile app development opens the door to scalability for your app across multiple platforms. Not just that, it saves your time and resources from spending hours and hours on the app creation process. And knowing that the giant tech companies are ensuring hybrid mobile app development gives you an additional brownie point.
However, it is important to keep in mind that every mobile app development process comes with its own set of challenges, as we have already mentioned. Just consider everything before you start building the hybrid application so that you don’t face difficulties in the future.