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Different hybrid mobile app development technologies

23/09/2019
Different hybrid mobile app development technologies

Mobile application development is split in two main categories; native mobile development and hybrid mobile development. These different approaches have both advantages and disadvantages that determine their suitability for different applications. In this article, we will be comparing the two technologies used to create hybrid applications which, for ease of reference, can be re-categorised as “web view” applications and “native” applications.

Web view technologies

Web view technologies like Phonegap and Cordova are very popular in the hybrid mobile development sector. These hybrid apps work across multiple platforms. A hybrid app is essentially a combination of a native app and a web app, this is because the application uses web development scripting languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. These applications run directly on a web view – essentially a web browser without the navigation bars. Since these applications are developed using web technologies, these frameworks offer the flexibility of a web app in a mobile application. However, since these applications are not built using native code, they will require plugins to access certain device functionalities that a native application offers.

Web view technologies

“Native” technologies take a different approach to building hybrid applications. Flutter, NativeScript and React Native are frameworks that fall under this category. These technologies use different programming languages to create applications that are not run on a web view. These applications are built using Objective-C or Java and use the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps and the final package is closer to a native mobile application, without using native code, which has the advantage of using one codebase and still building two separate applications. React Native uses React and JavaScript to create these applications, while Flutter uses Dart. NativeScript gives the developer an option to use either VueJS, JavaScript or Angular to create the application.

So, when comparing these two hybrid development types, it is clear that they each offer a different set of advantages and disadvantages. Web view applications allow the developer to create two identical applications for both android and iOS by using just one single codebase, which means a significant reduction of development costs. At the same time, one must contend with issues that stem from both native systems and hybrid systems, which makes bug fixing more challenging. Performance is also at a disadvantage because hybrid apps load in a web view. “Native” hybrid apps also give you the advantage of having a single code base for applications and since they do not run on a web view, performance improvements are notable. However, as the application is closer to native applications, issues with different platforms may require some development changes to be made so that a particular platform is directly targeted.

When looking into having a hybrid mobile application developed, one must take into consideration these changes, while also keeping in mind the requirements and the target audience of the application. Each type of app has both strong and weak elements that can affect the framework and development type chosen.

 

Neil Petroni is an Analyst at Deloitte Digital. For more information, please visit www.deloittedigital.com.mt