Five Important Points To Consider Before Building A Hybrid Mobile App

The hybrid mobile app is now a very significant factor in today’s mobile app development market. The cost and time of mobile app development can be significantly reduced by using hybrid mobile apps and making it possible for developers to utilize web technologies (CSS, HTML, and Javascript) to aim at many mobile platforms from only one code base, instead of having to write native code (Swift, Objective-C, C#, Java) separately for each platform.

The advantage of having to save both money and time has led a mobile app development company into jumping at the opportunity of hybrid app. However, using a hybrid mobile app approach can be a serious mistake if certain points are not put into consideration. This article examines some important points that mobile app developers must put into consideration before going the way of hybrid mobile app.

The first point for app developers to consider is the type of features that need native codes. Some things can be done only natively, while there are things that can entirely be done within the hybrid code. And this is very crucial to differentiate. There is a general rule to observe: if it is a thing that a website has done, then doing it within hybrid code entirely is possible. But if it is a thing that a website has not done, then it most likely needs a native code. For a fast idea, some non-native features include, having access to the location of a customer, and using page styling and simple animations. On the other hand, some native features include, having access to the photos or camera of a customer, and passing control to the Facebook app of a customer for ease in authentication.

There is a sort of wrapper that every hybrid app has that makes an installation of the app possible, but it is the selected hybrid framework (Phongap, Cordova, etc) that provides it. Hybrid apps commonly make use of libraries and packages, in addition to this wrapper, that enables functionality in a hybrid app to be completed by mobile app developers. These libraries and packages must however be written in native code. The meaning of this is that if some native behavior are needed by your app, you have to either get a functional library or maybe write your own.

The major disadvantage here is that writing these native libraries must be for each framework aimed at, and these require some time to write. If immediately after operating system release you want to give support for native functionality, the best choice for you to hit the market quicker is to go native. In addition to that, having to rely on these libraries means that you have to put your trust on the open source community for their documentation and maintenance.

In a nutshell, if you use a hybrid approach, it isn’t a death knell to have an app that needs native functionality. But certain possible compromises and careful considerations are needed.

Taking into consideration the future and potential scope of your app is highly essential. It is not enough to study the above section, consult the requirements documents for version one, and stop there all because no native features are found. There are several abandoned hybrid apps that occupy an app graveyard- they functioned as MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), but as more robust applications- they failed! There are so many product leads and managers who have been hit with the grave news that they have to replace their hybrid mobile apps with native apps, even after the former successfully got them to the market. And there are many companies that cannot afford the cost it takes to natively rebuild their apps entirely.

There are several important performance limitations that hybrid app has which makes native apps the best option in so many cases. Some areas of limitation include:

Animation

Generally, native apps handle animations with more fluidity than hybrid apps.

App Fluidity

This has a strong similarity with animation, except that it is a little more general. There is always a common sluggish appearance of hybrid apps during state and page transitions. For example, the well-known slide tray open animations feel and appear much worse in hybrid apps.

Memory Usage

Due to the fact that mobile apps function on a minimal device, it is necessary to consider memory usage. A device’s webview is utilized by hybrid apps, and this accounts for a significant amount of memory. The hybrid app approach cannot be utilized for an app that needs a moderate memory amount.

It is possible to design around each of the above-mentioned items, but doing so, in most cases, may restrict the potential of the app.

There are distinct design languages for iOS apps and android, and they give their own user experiences. Mobile app developers should ensure that users have a good experience with their apps. Hybrid app is aimed at very many platforms, and this makes it seem generic or similar to the app of a competing operating system. The tabular approach which Android and iOS take is a perfect example of this. While “ViewPagers” is utilized by Android, “Segmented Controls” is utilized by iOS. The “ViewPagers” and “Segmented Controls” appear and function differently, but achieve the same goals. These interesting features of Android and iOS are commonly lost in hybrid apps. Yes, it is possible for the hybrid apps to still work in this way, but the time will take for users to grow accustomed to the behavior of your app is long, and if it seems too non-native, users might become frustrated.

The technology stack of native apps are mostly well documented and well established. For example, the building of all android apps is similar and invariably uses Java. iOS apps are written in either Swift or Objective-C, with a wide knowledge base and very many developers emcompassing both. On the contrary, the building of hybrid apps is with the aid of several app frameworks, therefore a developer must be very cautious in choosing the framework for a project.

What makes the decision on the framework to choose a very difficult task is the large number of existing framework. The tendency that many of these frameworks would no longer be maintained in some years to come is high. Their cost of maintenance will become increasingly high as market-share will be lost by many. So, making a choice of a framework means placing a bet on the success of its future.

In conclusion, the choice to explore the hybrid approach can be great for mobile app development; however, you may incur much bigger cost than what you initially saved. Before making the choice of going hybrid, it is important for any mobile app developer to completely understand the risks and limitations associated with it. Although it is a very exciting news to have this app development that is new and more cost-effective, many more things need to be put into consideration other than the price tag only.

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