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When should I consider building a hybrid app?

NOVEMBER 18, 2019   |    14:10    |    ADMIN

When should I consider building a hybrid app? 1

When Marc Andreesen, co-founder of Mozilla, famously stated that “software is eating the world,” the mobile app space was still in its infancy. According to Statista, the global app market will be worth $190 billion in 2020, up from $70 billion in 2015. That’s a huge amount of growth, and companies everywhere are capitalizing on it by creating their own apps to service customers, or create new markets.

But let’s be honest, there are many reasons why a company might want to create an app, and it’s not always about having the biggest impact or the most refined user experience. Maybe you’re building a single purpose app for internal use within an enterprise. Perhaps you’re creating a simple app in order to test out a concept and see how customers respond. Or maybe your company is just starting out and you don’t have a lot to spend on your first app.

For these reasons, and many more, a hybrid app may be the way to go. Without going into the technical details, the main thing to remember is that hybrid apps are developed in the universal language of the web: HTML and CSS — either entirely, or just for the front-end interface. Because hybrid apps use these common languages, unlike native apps, they are able to run on any device, including iOS and Android. That’s a big advantage since it means not only a more efficient, and less expensive development effort up front, but easier and cheaper upgrades down the line.

Today there are a number of options in developing hybrid apps that rival native ones. Some of the newer solutions are emerging from the top Internet companies, who use the technologies themselves, and then make it available for others. For example, React Native comes from Facebook, Xamarin from a company owned by Microsoft, and Flutter from Google. Regardless of the solution, you may be surprised to learn that some popular apps you use today are hybrid.

  • Instagram with over 500 million users and owned by Facebook, runs as a hybrid app, offering the best of both native and web apps. This includes the benefits of supporting offline viewing and rich media.
  • Evernote, the popular cloud based note-taking app, runs flawlessly as a hybrid app. Because the app primarily displays views of online documents, its performance is top notch despite the fact that it’s not a native app. Apps such as this that are mostly single purpose are often ideal candidates for hybrid solutions.
  • Twitter, you may be surprised to learn, is also a hybrid app. Since the app is used across millions of devices globally, the hybrid approach allows the company to maintain a single codebase, and push out updates quickly and efficiently to everyone at once. Performance in the app is lightning fast, proving that the hybrid approach can deliver.

The ability to run on all mobile devices regardless of operating system is just one of the benefits of hybrid apps. Consider the software development phase. Companies spend money not only developing apps, but maintaining them over time to offer new features and fixes to compete with other apps. Since hybrid apps are platform agnostic, development is cheaper since there is only a single supported version of the app. With native apps, developers have to create and maintain at least two separate versions, thus increasing the overall cost.

Hybrid apps are also generally faster to develop and maintain for the same reason. Instead of having two teams creating two different versions, hybrid apps can be rolled out often in half the time or less.

Finally, since hybrid apps contain both web and native elements, your smartphone or other mobile device doesn’t know the difference. This means that you have the same exact experience finding and installing hybrid apps as native apps. They are listed in the Google and Apple App Stores, and thus discoverable the same way people get all their apps. This is an important distinction from pure web apps, which need to be manually installed as a shortcut on the home page and generally cannot be searched for in an app store.

The latest hybrid solutions in mobile development allow the front-end to use the same codebase for both Android and iOS, but use a unified API running on top of a native Software Development Kit to provide the same benefits of a native app. These types of apps are primarily built using Xamarin and Ionic.

React Native is another hybrid option for developing native mobile apps written in JavaScript and that work on both iOS and Android operating systems. Similar to React, React Native enjoys significant community support today, and for good reason. Together with ReactJS, creating native mobile apps using this open source framework is clean, easy to maintain, and performs efficiently across multiple devices. Unlike native mobile apps, React Native allows developers to truly write once, run anywhere.

Appworks, a Boston-based mobile app development company, has been there from the beginning and helped pioneer some of the first mobile offerings. Our full stack development team supports a range of services to support your hybrid Android and iOS apps, including:

  • Android and iOS App Quality Assurance – full testing services to ensure apps go out the door free of bugs and are optimized for performance
  • Android and iOS App Porting – for when you want to move an app from another platform onto iOS
  • Android and iOS App UX and Design – our full design services to help you with branding and logo design, user experience, user interface design, and creation of style guides for use with future apps

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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  • Android and iOS App Quality Assurance – full testing services to ensure apps go out the door free of bugs and are optimized for performance
  • Android and iOS App Porting – for when you want to move an app from another platform onto iOS
  • Android and iOS App UX and Design – our full design services to help you with branding and logo design, user experience, user interface design, and creation of style guides for use with future apps

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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When should I consider building a hybrid app? 4

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