With the significant increase in mobile phone users in the last decade, almost every business needs to build a mobile application. However, one of the major factors you need to consider while developing a mobile application is choosing between native or hybrid mobile app development.
While both solutions have pros and cons, many businesses opt for hybrid apps because of their benefits in terms of budget, time to market, and other factors. According to a Forbes report, 37 of the Top 50 retail apps in America are hybrid. Moreover, popular platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Uber, etc., use hybrid applications. This pops up the question - what are hybrid apps and their benefits?
This article enumerates hybrid app development, its advantages and disadvantages, and the technologies to develop them.
So, let's get started!
Hybrid app development means building a single app compatible with all mobile platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows. Unlike native app development, where developers have to use a platform-specific programming language to build apps for different operating systems, a hybrid app uses a single code base for all OS.
For example, if you want to create a native iOS application, you have to use Swift or Objective-C, while you have to employ Kotlin or Java to build an app for Android OS. On the other hand, you can use a single code base written using React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, or any other technologies that operate on all OS.
The demand for hybrid apps is increasing due to several factors like cross-platform functionality, rapid development, and more. Besides, trimming development and maintenance costs is crucial in today's competitive and challenging business environment, and hybrid mobile app development is one of the best solutions for this. These factors add to the high demand for hybrid app developers, and companies compete to hire them. Turing's hybrid mobile app development services allow you to employ the world's best mobile app development team for your projects.
Mobile application development involves a significant amount of time and money. So, when selecting your solution for building a new mobile app, you must choose native or hybrid apps. Picking the right solution for your mobile application depends on the project's complexity, budget, timeline, and target audience.
Nevertheless, let's understand the difference between native and hybrid app development.
Native applications are built for a specific platform (for example, Apple iOS, Android). Developers need to write the code using the programming languages compatible with the platform’s operating system.
These apps have access to all the native device features, making it easier for the developers to ensure better performance and security. However, high development and maintenance costs are some of the major drawbacks of native apps. But, if you need to target users of one platform or want a better performance, you may want to build a native app.
On the other hand, hybrid app development allows you to write the code once and deploy the application across multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows. You can choose from various programming languages and frameworks that give you more flexibility.
Building hybrid apps needs writing a larger codebase to make it compatible with different operating systems and their versions. Moreover, these apps require much lower development and maintenance cost since you need to work on a single codebase.
Hybrid app development allows businesses to leverage their existing development tools to write codes for their applications. They don't need to look for new technologies or hire developers with expertise in platform-specific technologies to build their applications. Besides that, you can use the same code for different platforms, eliminating the need to create a new codebase across each platform. It saves a lot of time and reduces the time to deploy the app.
One of the significant benefits of developing a hybrid app is cross-platform compatibility. The developers have to write code once and run it on multiple platforms. Unlike native apps, hybrid apps are not platform-specific. It makes them ideal for businesses that don't want to spend time and money to build separate apps for each platform.
Scalability is a crucial factor in mobile application development. A scalable app offers greater flexibility, reliability, and security and allows you to add new functionality and features. Hybrid mobile app development provides easy scalability as the developers don't need to make considerable changes to scale up the app across platforms. They can change the code once, which will be effective on all the platforms.
App development costs are going up. Considering the cost of the development kit, hiring engineers, and development time, building native apps for each platform is costlier than creating a hybrid app since you need more developers, resources, and time. Contrary to that, a hybrid app doesn't require a platform-specific development kit. You don't need to hire specialist developers for different platforms, which help you save a significant amount of money and adds to your profit.
Hybrid mobile app development allows you to reuse the design elements across various operating systems. It ensures users can get the same experience regardless of what platform they use, which helps improve the brand image.
A hybrid app development approach helps you maintain the application code easily since developers don't need to work on multiple code bases and monitor multiple platforms. They can work on a single back-end and update the apps on all the platforms simultaneously.
Building hybrid apps requires developers to write more code lines than a native app to adapt to various platforms. It makes the app heavier, which can affect its performance. Moreover, as you rely on a single codebase for all the platforms, some native features miss out on hybrid apps, affecting performance and user experience.
Hybrid app development involves using third-party frameworks which are not always updated. It takes more time to roll out new features than native apps.
Testing a hybrid app is a more complex process since developers need to test it on multiple devices across platforms to ensure proper functioning. Moreover, these apps may share many codes between various platforms. Some of them are native in practice and written for a particular OS, making testing more complex.
Hybrid mobile app development involves combining web technologies and native capabilities. Let's look at the various stages of developing a hybrid app.
The first stage is understanding whether this solution is the right choice for your project. If you are sure that a hybrid app is the best for your business, you need to determine which features to include in the app. You also need to select the right tech stacks for building the app.
The design phase is a very critical stage in any Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). In this stage, software architects design a comprehensive product architecture based on the stakeholders' inputs and after analyzing the business requirements.
Once you plan what your app should look like and the features to include, the next step is to write the code to create a high-performing, robust, secure back end. This stage also includes designing a visually appealing user interface.
After writing the code, the developers need to test it to ensure the app looks and performs as planned in the first stage. It involves testing both the front and back end and fixing any bugs.
It is the final stage of your hybrid mobile app development. You need to deploy the application on different platforms and make it accessible for the users, who can download and install it on their devices.
After deployment, your hybrid app requires maintenance, like fixing bugs or updating it regularly. It helps you provide an excellent user experience and add new features. You must also follow the latest app development trends and utilize new technologies to stay ahead of your competitors.
Key benefits of React Native
Flutter is a relatively new framework in the hybrid mobile app development arena, but it has created a lot of hype in the last couple of years. A recent Statista report suggests Flutter is the most popular Hybrid mobile framework. Powered by Google, this open-source framework is known for its speed and reliability. It also enables developers to create highly creative UIs with flexible designs. Renown brands like Amazon, Alibaba, BMW, Toyota, and many others have used this framework to build their applications.
Key benefits of Flutter
It is one of the best frameworks for hybrid mobile app development. Built by Microsoft, Xamarin is written using C#; it is advanced and much more improved than Java and Objective C. Developers can use this framework to build hybrid apps for iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems.
Key benefits of Xamarin
Key benefits of Ionic
Key benefits of NativeScript
Developing mobile applications for each platform is expensive and consumes a lot of time and resources. Hybrid apps are becoming popular due to the benefits like cross-platform compatibility, cost-effectiveness, and shorter time to market. However, making the right choice for building your mobile application is crucial. Considering factors like development cost, time, and your target audience helps you make the correct decision.
Hybrid mobile app development can be highly beneficial for your business unless you are targetting an audience using a particular mobile platform. You can save a considerable amount of money and get almost the same performance as a native app. The next step is to hire the right development team for your project. Considering the high demand, finding talented engineers is challenging, but Turing can help you employ the world's most deeply vetted hybrid mobile app development team within just 2 weeks. Our zero-risk two-week free trial enables you to assess the developers' performance before committing.
Join our 400+ clients, including Dell, Pepsi, Disney, Johnson&Johnson and many others, and build your development team in a few clicks.
Subhasish is a science graduate but a passionate writer and wordsmith who writes website content, blogs, articles, and social media content on technologies, the equity market, traveling, and other domains. He has worked with Affnosys and FTI Technologies as a content writer.
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