There are a number of different choices when making a decision on how to build your next mobile application.
Development teams typically make a choice between going the native application route using the native SDK’s for Android and iOS or the hybrid mobile application route with a framework like Ionic Framework, React Native, NativeScript, Xamarin etc.
While the different hybrid mobile applications differ in the specifics of their implementation they have similarities in that they interact with a layer that sits above the native layer.
The rest of this article will focus on the advantages of going the hybrid mobile application route in comparison to developing unique applications for Android and iOS.
We focus on Android and iOS as these are the most pervasive mobile operating systems currently in use.
Get to market faster
Developing a unique application for Android and iOS requires you to manage two unique code bases with unique requirements.
If you opt to go the hybrid mobile application framework route, then you get to take advantage of having a single codebase that can be deployed to both major mobile operating systems.
A mature hybrid mobile application framework can handle the differences between the operating systems and provide you with a platform agnostic codebase with minimal operating system specific code.
Reduce your resource requirements
When you develop unique application for each platform then you will in all likelihood have to maintain two unique development teams for each platform.
While some development teams have experience in both Android and iOS the vast majority are a focused on a single platform.
By being able to utilise a single development team working on both platforms you can take advantage of needing a small team to deliver both applications.
Take advantage of existing skills
All of the major hybrid mobile application frameworks use technologies that your development team will likely already be familiar with.
Xamarin allows you take to advantage of your developers experience in C# which can be extremely advantageous in a traditional enterprise team with .NET experience. A further advantage of Xamarin is that it provides the most native experience of the hybrid mobile application frameworks as it compiles straight down to native.
No limitations in comparison to native
Hybrid mobile application have very few limitations in comparison to native applications. Your application will have access to all the native API’s and the affordances that they provide.
When the first hybrid mobile applications became available they had limitations with their ability to interact with native functionality.
In the current generation of hybrid mobile applications, you have access to all the most common native affordances including GPS, Camera, Push Notifications, File Storage etc
No difference to users
The applications that are built using a hybrid mobile application are virtually indistinguishable from native mobile applications.
Your users won’t be able to tell the difference between the application as they look indistinguishable from native applications and are in the vast majority of cases just as performant.
Users don’t care what technology the application is built on as long as it looks and feels great and solves the problem they are using it for.
Reduced long term maintenance cost
Hybrid applications have a reduced maintenance cost in the long term as they require less resources to maintain.
The single code base ensures that developers only need concern themselves with latent bugs in their code or as and when platform updates affect the application.
If the project enters a long-term maintenance mode the developers can be re-assigned to other projects and be pulled back on as and when needed.
Using the native SDK’s has some advantages over hybrid mobile application frameworks but for most use cases the hybrid route is a great option.
The hybrid application framework that you choose will help you get to market faster using significantly less resources than if you had developed two unique applications.
Contact Bumblebee to discuss your mobile application strategy and connect with the author, Baadier Sydow, at email@example.com or @Baadier on Twitter.
Author: Baadier Sydow – Digital Lead