Hybrid apps are apps available on App stores that install on a device, like any other app. These applications have the particularity of combining elements of so-called native applications (developed for a particular platform, iOS or Android for example) and web apps (available on the Internet via a browser and not installed locally).
Advantages of a hybrid app
Hybrid applications have a number of advantages:
- Combine the user experience with the agility of the development cycle and controlled costs.
- Bypass the limitations of the Apple App store: To deploy an application on the Apple App store, you must submit the application and wait for validation. The validation time will vary depending on the time of year, but also whether it is a first version of the application or an update. Hybrid applications are therefore a great advantage for developers who want to be able to update their application frequently since there is no need to resubmit the new version if the changed elements do not affect the native code.
- Reuse the code from the web app part: the code is written once and then deployed on all mobile platforms.
- Reduce Development Times and Costs: As the code is written once, this significantly reduces development times and costs compared to native applications requiring development for iOS on the one hand and development for Android on the other.
Disadvantages of hybrid apps
- Speed: Precisely this concept of a web app within a native app is what generates is that, at times, they are slower than real native apps.
- Access to smartphone technology: Hybrid apps allow access to smartphone technology. However, you can do it always depend on the native plugins. If at any time this add-on stops being operational, your hybrid app will not be able to access these terminal technologies.
- Hybrid interface: The problem with an app being valid for different platforms is that this means that its design is not completely perfect for each platform.
That is, you have a design for Android and IOS, but it is not an excellent interface for each one but a well-adapted one.
What are the limitations of hybrid apps?
- A limited user interface: hybrid applications indeed have a design that does not feel like a native design. So, the user interface is not as smooth. The possibilities (3D for example) are also limited due to the use of the WebView which does not allow the full potential of the device to be exploited.
- The difficulty or impossibility of harnessing all the capabilities of the platforms: Each platform, iOS or Android, has unique capabilities that a developer may wish to exploit. If so, it is by using a combination of plugins and platform-specific code that this can be achieved for a hybrid application. This further complicates the application development project.
- Slower performance and page transitions
- A dependence on browser speed
How to develop a hybrid app
One of the hardest decisions is to decide what to choose between the native or web or even hybrid type of application. Obviously, we have already talked about what it is and what each one offers but still the decision can be complicated.
In short, opting for this type of hybrid applications will only depend on your needs. It is not that it is worse than a native app or better than a web app, it simply offers you specific solutions that you should study whether or not they adapt to your needs.
If you have doubts about which technology will best solve the needs of your clients, lean on a good team and some experienced app developers so they can give you personalized advice and thus define the best solution for your project.