Hybrid apps reside in a space between native applications (downloaded applications for a mobile device) and web applications (applications that are not downloaded and are instead accessed through a browser). Hybrid apps offer some of the functionality of a native app (such as push notifications) but are wrapped in a browser rather than being packaged on their own.
Let’s take a look at why hybrid app development has become so popular and why it’s likely the future of mobile apps.
What is Hybrid App Development?
Hybrid app development is a method that falls between native apps and web apps. Under hybrid app development, a single platform is made to be usable through the web and through a mobile device, often seamlessly. A hybrid app isn’t just a website, though: It utilizes features of the phone. Consider how Amazon can cast directly to any device or how Netflix can send you push notifications.
Hybrid App Benefits
Many companies are transitioning away from traditional mobile app development and toward hybrid apps. There are companies that even specialize in hybrid app development. Some benefits of hybrid apps include:
- They can be run on any platform. There isn’t an iOS or Android hybrid app; hybrid apps are completely platform-agnostic.
- They’re easier to integrate. The same responsive platform can be used for a company’s website as its hybrid app.
- They’re scalable. They don’t require the maintenance of multiple platforms or pushing multiple iterations/versions of an app.
- They are easier to develop for. A specialist in web app development will be able to create a hybrid app, with just a little additional information.
- They aren’t really downloaded. They may be downloaded through the app store and reside on the user’s interface, but the bulk of the content usually links to the web application that backs it, rather than linking to the user’s device.
A lot of large platforms, such as Netflix, use hybrid apps now. Hybrid mobile app development makes sense; it takes up less space on the user’s device, provides more granular control over the system, and will still work as effectively as a native app.
There are still some advanced functions of native applications that hybrid apps cannot mimic, such as deep manipulation of the camera or video feeds. But eventually, hybrid apps are going to become even more powerful. There is already a fairly limited number of things that a hybrid app cannot do.
How to Develop Hybrid App
Hybrid apps can be developed just like web apps with the same technology. This is part of what makes them so powerful. Frequently, a company will develop a web app and then wrap it in a browser to produce a hybrid app. This cuts their development, monitoring, and architecture time because they’re really only developing a single system rather than multiple platform-specific systems.
Alternatively, a company can always hire a hybrid mobile app development company. A mobile app development company can either develop an app from scratch or help a company translate its existing web app into a hybrid app. But the technology involved in developing a hybrid app is not appreciably different from developing a web app.
What is the Future of Mobile App Development?
Hybrid cross-platform mobile development is likely going to become more popular and powerful. As web apps become more popular, it becomes clear that the easiest way to create a native app is to just wrap a web app in a browser and distribute the web app in that way. There are very few things a hybrid app can’t do that a native app would be able to do.
There are some advantages to native apps; a native app can, for instance, be used offline. But there’s nothing stopping a hybrid app from being able to do this, either. The only reason they often cannot be used offline is that hybrid apps are so often used for online services (such as streaming services).
Mobile app development, overall, is going to continue to grow dramatically year over year. More people are now using phones and tablets to access the internet and interact with applications than through desktops and laptops and this trend is going to continue. Mobile apps, whether hybrid or native, are the way of the future — and hybrid apps are growing swiftly.
Examples of Hybrid Mobile Applications
Netflix and Amazon are both prime examples of hybrid mobile applications. When it comes to both, it really doesn’t make sense for them to develop a separate, native platform.
Rather, the Netflix and Amazon apps are driven through the same platform a user would see if they accessed their website through their phone. The advantages are clear: they can manage single, responsive, robust platforms while still ensuring that their platform can be viewed on any device.
Ultimately, hybrid mobile app development is likely to become even more popular in the future. Hybrid mobile apps have a lot of advantages compared to traditional web apps and native applications. As web apps continue to gain complexity, translating them into a hybrid space and making them platform-agnostic only makes sense.