Mobile App Development: When to Go Hybrid

Having mobile apps developed for multiple platforms like HTML5, Android, and iOS requires you to find developers with very different skill sets.

It’s not impossible, but it takes time and costs more.

Besides, when you develop a separate native app for each, it’s difficult to keep the apps aligned in terms of features and user experience.

This situation has led to the development of hybrid mobile app development platforms like Xamarin. They make it possible to develop a single app project and port it to multiple mobile platforms automatically.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of hybrid app development.

The Advantages

Hybrid app development seems to be a good solution for getting access to both major mobile platforms simultaneously.

It’s both cost-effective and helps keep your brand consistent for both Android and iOS users.

Code Once, Run Anywhere

Developers are painfully aware of the time and expense involved with developing an app from scratch.

Creating native app projects for each mobile platform doubles or triples the resources required to launch a mobile app on two or more markets.

Hybrid app development cuts the time and expense dramatically and allows you to launch a new app to many markets faster.

The reduced development cycle is the biggest selling point for hybrid development.

Fewer Technology Stacks

For react developers, the complexity of developing multiple apps comes from the need to replicate the same user experience with two or more technology stacks.

Native app development for Android, Apple, and the web requires developers to have expertize in Android Java, Swift, Objective-C, and JavaScript.

A hybrid mobile app development solution lets them specialize in a single technology stack like .NET.

Broader Market Access

If you lack the development resources or budget to develop multiple native apps in parallel, then you’ll be forced to choose which market to support.

Hybrid development allows you to avoid orphaning a large part of the mobile device market from your brand or service.

If universal access is important, this option makes the most sense compared to native app development.

Easier to Maintain

Much of the cost of developing mobile apps is front-loaded. The design, coding, and launch of an app represent most of the cost for many mobile projects.

However, the amount of post-launch development and maintenance varies between projects.

A game or social app is likely to be developed continuously compared to a content or utility app. If you expect your app to evolve for years after launch, hybrid development will make maintaining it much simpler.

The Disadvantages

There are drawbacks to hybrid mobile app development to keep in mind.

Because development platforms like Xamarin are never perfect in how they translate the code to each mobile platform, there are limitations to what they can accomplish.

Native Apps Allow More Freedom

Hybrid app development reduces the set of features and user experiences that can be achieved on each mobile platform to those that are supported by each of them.

This common denominator-based development may contain all the features you need to build a successful app project, but it might also limit you in a critical way.

Developing for each platform independently is sometimes a better option to achieve your goal.

Read also: Developer Gang

Native Apps Have Better Performance

If performance is critical to your mobile project, native development may be required to achieve the speed or responsiveness needed.

Hybrid app development platforms add an extra layer of code when they port your project to each platform, and the generated code isn’t as optimized as it could be.

Apps that need a real-time performance like games and multi-user social apps should focus on native development.

Hybrid App Development Doesn’t Look Native

If your project needs to feel seamless to mobile users on both Android and iOS, then native development can be a better option.

Hybrid app development has improved in recent years when it comes to providing access to native user experiences, but it detracts from the “write once, run everywhere” philosophy.

Hybrid Apps Require More Testing

It makes sense that developing a single app project for two platforms saves time and resources, but it also adds in more complexity and testing requirements.

To avoid unexpected problems, you’ll need to test the hybrid app on both platforms and various device sizes. The testing operation becomes much larger and yields more bugs to fix as a result. A hybrid app project will require far more tweaking and user experience work than would be required if you simply developed two native apps.

The Bottom Line

Hybrid mobile app development can be an effective way to cut costs and time to market for projects that aren’t performance-intensive or require access to the proprietary features of a mobile platform.

Problems multiply if you need a highly optimized app that squeezes the most performance from mobile devices possible, or if you want apps carefully tailored to each mobile platform. Beyond these issues, however, hybrid development is a good way to launch apps in both Android and iOS markets simultaneously in less time than it would take developing native apps.