What are Hybrid Applications? What are the Pros and Cons?

What is a Hybrid Application?

A hybrid application is one that combines the features of both Native Applications and a Web Applications. Native applications are developed specifically for a platform and are used on the platform’s device. Web applications use web browsers to run applications and could be run from the browser of any device irrespective of the platform. As hybrid applications are installed on your device, it could access various functionalities of your device including camera, microphone, accelerometer, contacts and other hardware.

Hybrid applications are developed similar to web applications using multiple web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The difference between a web application and a Hybrid app is that they are hosted inside a native application and utilizes the platform’s Web View. However the users do not know if your application is built on. All users care about is an app that works well and offers a proper user experience.

There are many popular applications that were originally built on native and later converted to hybrid and there are others which were built on Hybrid and converted to native. This is mostly because of the app’s requirements and how the users perceive it. When you are in the process of building a new app and stuck in deciding between hybrid and native, you should understand the pros and cons between the two.

Here we discuss some of the major pros and cons of hybrid applications to help you decide if your application should be built on hybrid of not.

Advantages

1. Multiple Developers:

As we have already mentioned, Hybrid applications are built using web development technology and it also allows multiple developers to work on a single application. This has several advantages including faster development times, working with specific expertise, and enables you develop on multiple platforms. The most important advantage of Hybrid applications is that it is one core for multiple platforms.

2. Web Developer Friendly:

Since most of the technology used for developing web applications is used for developing hybrid applications, many web developers have the opportunity to try their hands at developing a mobile application as well. This is beneficial for small businesses where you cannot find mobile specific and native specific developers for mobile applications.

3. Doesn’t demand deep technical expertise:

Compared to native mobile application development, Hybrid applications don’t require intense technical expertise to develop. Anyone who is comfortable working with a client end or a frontend framework like Java would be comfortable in creating a hybrid mobile application. This also ensures faster development as multiple platforms could be covered in quick time. 

4. Better Appearance:

Anybody who is familiar with web development would understand how the HTML5 & CSS3 combination could enhance the look and feel of a website. The same applies for hybrid applications as well. Hybrid applications developed in HTML and CSS provide attractive appearance which results in highly satisfying user experience.

Disadvantages

1. Lack of Features:

One of the simple ways to explain this is to compare hybrid applications to a Swiss Knife. It has a lot of features and a variety of functionalities but it is hardly good at doing anything. Where as a native app could be compared to an ordinary knife. While it could be used for just one purpose, it is pretty good at it. Hybrid applications similarly work on multiple platforms but fail to each platform to the fullest advantage. Hybrid applications do not utilize all the features and advantages each platform offers.

2. Limited performance:

Like we have mentioned in the point above, hybrid applications may work on multiple platforms but their performance has many limitations. These limitations could be overcome while developing a native application as many of these limitations are platform specific. This increasingly limits the performance of your application on the longer run.

3. Smaller Traffic and Smaller Projects:

Hybrid apps are a great option if you are looking for an application that is completed quickly. If you are looking to build an application within a short period of time, hybrid should be your choice. But this advantage is listed under disadvantages because these apps that are created quickly are not robust. They are prone to functionality issues, and suffer in large traffic scenarios. This is one of the primary reasons why many hybrid apps are converted to native. Hybrid applications simply are not built to handle large traffic and complex functionalities.

4. Lack of Support:

Native application development is quite easy as it is backed by a strong support community that is always ready to help. As hybrid uses a variety of different technologies and every person uses a specific method to create and develop hybrid applications, there aren’t many support forums and community which support hybrid application development. This makes it difficult to configure and debug when you encounter issues with your application.

To conclude, hybrid applications not as great as they are hyped up to be. For the discerning eye, hybrid application development has just as many pros and cons native applications have. To decide which process you choose to develop your application, you must first decide on the requirements and functionalities.

If you are looking for more help in mobile application development be it hybrid or native or even web applications, InteractiveUX is always ready to provide our services. Get in touch with us soon. If you have more pointers about the pros and cons of hybrid mobile application development, please let us know in the comments section below.   

Jit Goel ( President/CEO ) / Obed Joshua ( Content Marketing /Digital Marketing Specialist )

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