An Unbiased Comparison between Hybrid and Native App Development

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How often do we see people tinkering into their smartphones while traveling on public transport or standing in a queue? The sight is pretty common nowadays. Affordable smartphones and internet data plans have made this scenario possible. Be it booking a cab, paying bills or shopping online, there is an app for that. As per Magento IT Solutions, there have been 205.4 billion app downloads in 2018. Additionally, the Google Play store hosts around 8 million apps and there are 2.2 million apps in the Apple App store. Social media apps are popular as 40% of the people are listed on it.

These statistics clearly depict the prospects of mobile apps in the current global market. While it is obvious that mobile app development services are in high demand, there are certain elements of development that posing as challenges to this segment. The time of development and budget involved are the primary highlights among others.

What is Hybrid app? How it is different from native apps?

The hybrid app can be defined as a web app in a native browser. It combines the elements of both native and web apps. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are used for the hybrid app development, which is then wrapped in a native application with the use of platforms such as Cordova. Hence, it can be used for any web-native framework. The resulting apps are faster and simple.

The Native apps are primarily different from Hybrid apps on the ground of platform specification. Native apps are built for a specific platform be it Android or iOS. Hence, the development of native apps requires separate efforts for each platform. The different platform codes have individual release cycle and updating. This adds to the development cost and time. Additionally, developers face challenges while creating similar features for different platforms.

Business Benefits of Developing Hybrid Apps over Native Apps

There are some significant benefits of hybrid app development.

Multi-platform Support

In this type of development, the code needs to be written once which can be reused for different platforms. There is only one source code which is capable of functioning across various platforms.

Faster Development Cycle

The hybrid app development can be done in a lesser time frame. With the recent introduction of high-end tools and strong frameworks, the effort at the developer end is reduced for faster development.

Cost Effective

The development time mainly contributes to the cost of app development. In the case of hybrid apps, the development is only once and the codebase works for all platforms. Hence, there is no need for different development teams for different platforms. Even the app testing time is reduced to a significant amount.

Maintenance and Update

The version update is convenient with hybrid app development. The source code can be changed easily. The modification process is effortless that can be followed by a testing procedure.

Customization

HTML, CSS3, and JavaScript are used for writing the code in the development of hybrid apps. Hence customization of the source code and corresponding app is easy.

Restriction Less

There are no restrictions over hybrid apps as such in the app store. There are no strict store guidelines for hybrid apps. Therefore, alterations and updates are convenient.

Popular Frameworks for Hybrid App Development

React Native

React Native is a preferred choice for hybrid app development when a business wants to build an app in a limited time frame and budget. It is open source and based on JavaScript. Apart from compatibility across different platforms and one codebase, there are other features of this framework also. React Native has live update benefit which allows the updates to be sent to user phones through JavaScript. It is compatible with third-party plug-ins as well.

Xamarin

Another well-liked framework in the list is Xamarin. It has a community of 1.4 million developers currently. It is a framework that can be used for developing business apps with the essence of native apps. Around 70% of the code in this framework is reusable. One highlight of this framework is the Xamarin Forms. It offers features related to specific platforms in addition to the reusable code. In the case of API, the single one can be used for different platforms as well.  Hence, it is favored for cross-platform app development.

Ionic

Ionic is another open source comprehensive SDK that is useful for cross-platform app development. The recent version of this framework is Ionic 3, which is built on Angular. The framework accesses features of the host operating system such as camera and GPS through Cordova plugins. It has primary elements like typography, interactive paradigms, extendable base theme, and mobile components. The reliability quotient is high in case of Ionic due to CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. Ionic has in-built solutions related to security and authentication along with storage. This contributes significantly to a faster development cycle and significant cost reduction.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps over Android or iOS

Pros

  • The single codebase can be used for multiple platforms. There is no need to write code for separate platforms.
  • Since the hybrid apps are based on web technologies, the application can run on any browser similar to that of a website. This facilitates flexibility and convenient optimization.
  • The hardware-based performance acceleration is similar in the case of hybrid apps like that of native ones.
  • There is no compromise on the user experience across different platforms.

Cons

  • In case of certain high definition or graphics oriented apps, there may be some amount of performance glitches.
  • There is a dependency on certain native plug-ins.
  • Since the dependencies are also on different frameworks and libraries, the Ionic needs to be synchronized regularly.

The Choice

Hybrid Apps have played a key role in bridging the gap towards separate app development processes for different platforms like Android app development and iOS app development. This has aided in significantly reducing the time and effort related to the development cycle. Businesses are benefited from reduced costing related to the app development life cycle. This has opened up new opportunities and prospects for technology companies as well. Thus, hybrid apps can be considered as the future of app development segment.

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