5 Questions to Answer To Make Sure Developing Hybrid Apps is the Best Choice

31 July 2017 |

hybrid app

The appearance of the hybrid mobile apps has created a sort of revolution in the world of mobile development. They not only make the process a lot easier and accessible in terms of technology and knowledge needed. Hybrid apps also lower the entrance threshold for development startups attempting to get to the market (we covered this topic in our previous post). The key advantage of “hybrids” lies in their having one code base upon which the apps for various platforms are build. So, there’s no more writing the code from scratch for each mobile OS, and, consequently, the app creation time and costs are seriously reduced if compared to native apps.

It might look like a perfect solution, but there’s a fly in the ointment. Or rather, a few flies. To make sure the hybrid approach is ultimate in your case, make sure you can answer the questions that we offer below and carefully weigh all the pros and cons you discover.

Are you sure you’ve picked the right framework?

Unlike native apps that use a limited number of languages, the wide range of existing hybrid apps frameworks make choosing the one for your project quite a difficult task. The problem is, switching from one to another when your app is ready is far from being quick and easy.

Moreover, it is unlikely that all of the frameworks will be maintained in the future. Some may be given up and this will create additional problems for your app. Therefore, make sure you make a very well-weighted decision when picking the framework to work with.

Does your app need native functionality?

Hybrid apps by default possess some features of the native apps, for instance the access to certain resources of a device (like detecting location). But there are certain native functionalities that they cannot use (camera, for instance) unless complemented with the native code. So, in order to add a specific native feature, such apps utilize not only the wrapper, but also packages or libraries that need to be written in native code separately for each particular platform.

This is where the difficult part begins. Actually, you can be lucky enough to find the necessary library and save lots of time. However, this is not applicable in case you are targeting at a new version of an OS that has just been released. In all probability, you will need to write the code yourself (or have it written). All in all, if you expect a lot of such instances for your prospective app, going native might turn out to be a more effective approach.

Will your app be able to “develop”?

Remember that apps, like other software, need to be constantly updated and improved to keep up with the growing requirements of the users and the competitors’ solutions on the market. If the functionality of your app is going to hit the ceiling pretty soon due to certain limitations, it will be surely quickly left behind by more robust native applications which aren’t restricted by their origin. You would surely not like to see it happen, so you’d better think this over now.

Can app’s performance become an issue?

Performance is one of the biggest disadvantages of hybrid apps. It is often reflected in the following key points:

Overall slowness - to understand what it means, you simply need to compare the response time of a native and a hybrid app, because the latter will be in a significant loss.

Sluggish animations - similar to the previous issue, hybrid apps aren’t very good at dealing with animations and lose this one to native apps.

Significant memory usage - apart from the app itself that requires a certain amount of memory, they use webviews, which also takes up quite a lot of the device’s resources.

Definitely, there are ways to work out these issues, but it can mean a risk to the functionality of the app.

Is your app interface going to be the same for various platforms?

Mobile platforms differ significantly in design and appearance. For instance, iOS devices are devoid of the “back” button that most Android devices feature. Therefore, going the hybrid way, you need to sacrifice the familiarity of the user experience for some ar all targeted platforms. In other words, even if your app will stick to the traditional UI on one platform, it will look totally strange on the others.

It is definitely not a critical issue, but still some users may be scared away with the non-native design of your app, which means taking time to master and get used to.

Conclusion

Just like everything else in this world, hybrid apps have two sides. On the one hand, their popularity, cost-effectiveness and comparative ease of development make them a very viable solution. On the other hand, there are certain downsides that can lead to spending more time and efforts than expected. So, armed with the information, don’t rush into emotional decisions, but carefully consider all possible risks before making your final choice.

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