Should You Still Build A Hybrid Mobile App For Your Business?

Posted by Pete Heard | July, 20, 2017

A term that is used frequently in the mobile application development industry is hybrid mobile app. You may be asking yourself, " What is a hybrid mobile app and do I need one for my business? " To simplify the term and make it easier to understand, a hybrid app is just like any other app that you have downloaded and used on your mobile device. It looks and acts like any other app and it may use a combination of different web development languages including HTML5, JavaScript, CSS and HTML.

So what makes a hybrid app different and is hybrid app development really worth it?

The difference that makes an app a hybrid app is that it is hosted inside a native application that uses a mobile platform's WebView and was created using a ‘wrapper’ technology such as Ionic. Hybrid apps have the ability to access certain device capabilities including the accelerometer, camera and contacts. However they are limited to which native UI elements they can use from the phone.

Can you tell the difference just by looking at a hybrid mobile app? Not to the untrained eye however over time hybrid apps slowly loose the look and feel of a more native solution for example react native.

What makes a hybrid better than a web app?

If hybrid apps are similar in look and feel to more native solutions, should you choose one for your business? The main reason to choose hybrid application development is that it enables web app developers to write mobile apps and target more than one platform giving the hybrid app more features and more efficient ways to use the mobile device. However just as each platform has its own benefits, it also comes with some drawbacks that could cause a decrease in user experience. An example of this would be the inconsistency of Android OS versions which pose another challenge for the developer.

But it is the unique capabilities of each platform that the developer is looking to target and they can embed a wide range of plugins and platform-specific code as well as 3rd party web runtimes.

Should you build a hybrid mobile app?

If you are considering building a hybrid mobile app, you should evaluate whether it is beneficial to your business or your customers' needs. Compare the benefits of hybrid application development versus web or react native development. It's worth noting that react native whilst a little harder to develop will ultimately give better performance from a user experience.

You should also ask yourself some questions to decide if a mobile app is really necessary:

  • Are there certain mobile platforms you wish to target? And, if so, which ones?
  • Are you going to offer your app in the app stores?
  • Do your needs require using the capabilities of mobile devices such as camera, GPS, accelerometer and others?
  • Does your web application development team have the experience and the skills to create a hybrid app to your specifications?

These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself before deciding to choose hybrid application development for your business mobile app. You should also consult with a professional mobile application development team or consultancy to get their advice and to learn more about what your options are and how you can use them to engage with your customers.

Connect with the author :

Pete Heard is the founder of Logic Room. He helps organisations create web and mobile software using JavaScript and the related ecosystem of technologies such as React, React Native, Node, Angular and Typescript.

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