The purpose of the this hybrid mobile applications study post is to give a brief overview of what a hybrid app is, then go into a more detailed discussion around the advantages and disadvantages.
Hybrid applications target a WebView hosted inside a native container. This enables them to do things like access hardware capabilities of the mobile device, without using native hardware code. When using the Cordova APIs, an app can be built without any native code (Java, Objective-C, etc) from the app developer. Instead, web technologies are used, and they are hosted in the app itself locally (generally not on a remote http server).
There are two main ‘competitors’ in this field. One is Cordova (and Cordova-based tools like PhoneGap) and the other is Appcelerator Titanium. They both target mobile platforms but work in very different ways.
Today, most hybrid mobile applications leverage Apache Cordova.
Advantages of hybrid apps
What are the motivations to go hybrid? Well, there is a lot more detail to consider but the big advantages to building native are the following:
- Hybrid mobile applications provide a way for developers to reuse their existing skills in web development.
- It is easier to find and/or train a team of developers for a hybrid app build than native.
- The application development is faster, simpler, more rapid and the application is easier to maintain.
Disadvantages of hybrid apps
- With hybrid, you can find yourself targeting the features of a mobile platform only to discover that they’re inaccessible because the plug-ins for them are out-of-date, unreliable, or (even worse) missing altogether.
- The main advantage of native applications is their performance. Best performance includes fast and fluid animations as well as full access to phone hardware, multi touch support and the latest APIs.
- It is easier to create native app user experience using native app development environment.
- Hybrid apps tend to have some user interaction delays, and users can notice that the app is not as responsive sometimes.
- Clicks are more responsive on native apps, but with hybrid, the user may need to click more than once in order for the app to response. Scrolling list feel seamless on native apps, but with hybrid, the user may feel some frame loading delays. Large animations execute much more fluid on native apps.
- Accessibility is built into the native applications. So, for example if an iPhone user set up his iPhone’s preferences to show large fonts by default, native apps will show the larger fonts by default, but hybrid apps will not show default fonts.
- Native development provides better development environment and tooling to test and debug the work. It is much easier and less time consuming to find and fix bugs using native development tools.
- Since native app environment provide a more fluid user experience and less likely to have feature limitations, most of the large app companies use native app development environment rather than hybrid app environment.
We hope this article helped paint a clearer picture of hybrid mobile applications and helps you make a decision around your path. If you ever have any technical questions about hybrid apps, mobile apps, and any of your projects don’t hesitate to reach out! Info@MAGINFO.com