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Hybrid apps: yay or nay?

Web and smartphone apps are fast becoming crucial tools for customer loyalty. With nearly three billion smartphone users around the globe and close to 100% of mobile time being owed to apps, it isn’t surprising at all how entrepreneurs and brand experts are wanting their piece of the cake.

That established, what app is best for your business type and what digital offering effortlessly speaks to your target market? For this blog post, we’re not just discussing what hybrid mobile apps are, we’re also jotting down key differences between native and web apps, and amplifying why form matters.

Let’s talk about hybrid mobile apps

Just like any other mobile application, hybrid apps are installed on computing devices such as tablets and smartphones. But what makes them different is that they’re packed with elements from both native and web apps. In other words, hybrid apps demand to be installed to function—just like native apps—but will still require the help of a browser for additional features to work, just like a web app. Meaning to say, a hybrid app is heavily dependent on native containers that utilize a mobile WebView object to work. That way, when the hybrid app is used, web content is readily displayed because of the integration of web technologies.

What are things I can look forward to with hybrid apps?

Pros

Efficient

Small business owners and budding entrepreneurs will be pleased to know that the building of hybrid apps perfectly fuses agile development cycles, a pleasant user experience, and manageable costs. It also helps how hybrid apps have an Apple App Store workaround. Since the California-based tech giant requires an occasionally lengthy validation period, it can take an entire week for every version of an app to be approved. This means creative leads and developers working on a hybrid app can bypass this process as long as the modifications don’t impact the native code. 

Flexible

Almost every web and smartphone app have iOS and Android programming language counterparts. For instance, Android uses Java and iOS uses Objective-C, if not Swift. And because hybrid apps allow programmers to use the programming language, web developers resort to (Javascript, HTML, and CSS) that means clients have a full pool of experts to collaborate with, making the finding of resources much simpler and faster. This also means that web app developers who write code can only write it once, and it can immediately be deployed to as many mobile platforms as possible.

Cons

Limited UI

Hybrid apps aren’t as seamless as native apps. Certain functionalities don’t perform as well as they would in native apps, too. In other words, WebView restricts a computer device’s fullest potential.

App Speed

Hybrid apps are criminally dependent on how fast a device’s browser loads. That means there may be times users won’t be able to use the app offline or if their internet connection is weak.

Are hybrid apps the best for my business?

We’ve said this before, and we’ll repeat it: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to anything and everything in tech. There are, however, proven roadmaps that benefit larger groups and communities as opposed to certain paths and methodologies. At the end of the day, whatever floats your boat is what you should go for.

Let’s go over a few factors that should shape which app direction you should take.

User experience and target market

Like every existing business, who you cater to makes all the difference in the world. For instance, if your business calls for regularly updating an app that will affect your audience’s usage, go for web apps and hybrid apps instead. Native apps can take much longer when you need to modify a few features.

Time to publish

Unless you build apps on no-code platforms such as bubble.io, native apps will take the longest time to finish. Web apps are usually quicker and easier to complete, while hybrid apps are somewhere in the middle. Despite that, traditional app development is generally time-consuming, hence the rise of citizen developers through no-code providers. 

App features

This is perhaps one of the most significant decision markers on the list of features you need to think of. A few apps may work great without having to depend on native phone features so much, while others may not function at all in this context. This is why knowing precisely what kind of functionalities your app calls for dramatically affects the direction you’ll take.

App development budget

How much your app can cost will depend on how quickly you’d like to finish the project and the programming language you’ll need to build your app on. Needless to say, the number of developers and coders onboard will shape your expenses, too. Again, this is why no-code platforms are growing in popularity more by the day—because they empower non-IT experts and entrepreneurs alike.

Because visual programming relies on drag-and-drop features, basically anyone can build an app. Conventionally, however, native apps cost the most because of the time they consume. Budget-wise, web apps are the friendlier choice, although hybrid apps do provide more bang for your buck if your app demands a more robust device performance, but your pocket says otherwise.

Decisions, decisions

Native apps are often the best choice if your business app is inherently task, data, and media-oriented. But again, this is the priciest pick among the three app types. Furthermore, web apps are the way to go if there is a frequent need to change and update features and data in real-time. Before the advent of visual programming, it used to be the most cost-effective, too!

So where and how do hybrid apps fit the picture?

Hybrid apps are often polarising to a lot of tech experts. Depending on who you ask, answers will differ drastically. A few people will tell you upfront to not make them, while others will effortlessly give you the green light considering the many advantages the form comes with. Reasonably so, hybrid apps carry that sense and confidence native apps exude. The significant difference, however, is the massive budget the first one demands.

The truth is, although hybrid apps arguably do pack a lot of value in them, apps built on no-code platforms can perform as stunningly as native apps. That said, why resort to a complex app development form when you can create engaging and result-oriented web and mobile apps through visual programming—and on your own, at that?

Still have questions about which app type is best for you? Talk to us! We’d love to hear from you!

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