Hybrid App Development: The Hybrid vs. Native Argument Revisited for 2017

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We started Aquro with the goal of creating the most all-inclusive, developer friendly solution we possibly could for mobile app development.

A large part of this process involved taking a long, hard look at the current state of the app development world, and its projected future, and deciding whether hybrid or native app development was going to be the most optimal path for professional developers.

As a quick clarification, hybrid apps are also usually cross-platform apps, which is to say that they can be created or written in one programming language, and then easily packaged for and launched across multiple platforms.

Native apps, on the other hand, are written specifically in a programming language for a specific operating system (and therefore a native app must be written twice if it’s to be launched on multiple platforms (like iOS and Android).

Ultimately, we decided that the hybrid approach would best serve most app developers and their clients, and that if recent past trends continued, this would only become more true as time went on.

That said, the hybrid approach to app development, largely HTML5, CSS, and/or JavaScript, had such a long journey before living up to its promised potential, that the very term “hybrid app” still leaves a bad taste in many mouths.

Rest assured, hybrid has hit its stride and resisting that notion in 2017 is to leave serious money on the table.

For reference, here are traditionally the largest criticisms of hybrid mobile app development, and our look at whether they hold up or not today:

Performance Parity

The biggest hangup surrounding hybrid apps was that the JavaScript connections required for an app to access device functions – like the camera, GPS, etc. – could be resource intensive and slow down an app, giving it a stuttery or laggy feel. Understandably, this was far from ideal.

Now, however, modern day devices have processors and hardware that rival computers of the recent past, eliminating these performance bottlenecks and removing what was basically the only reason (and definitely the biggest one) to not develop hybrid previously.

Hardware Access

While different frameworks can approach this differently, there are JavaScript libraries now which allow access to basically any device functionality that a natively developed app would be able to take advantage of. That means that you don’t have to compromise on functionality now just because you don’t code a nap in a platforms native language (which are Java for Android and Swift for iOS, in case you didn’t know!).

But besides the arguments against hybrid collapsing, there are a number of arguments in favor of HTML/CSS/JavaScript based app development that have always been true:

Hybrid app development saves time:

There’s no way around it: Developing an app for Android and iOS at the same time will represent major time savings both in your workflow as a developer or, from a client perspective, in the amount of time you’ll have to wait around for an app to be finished.

Even if an app is only needed for one platform, hybrid app development platforms like Aquro are able to save a lot of time by having built-in components and functions already written in HTML and JS, which lets your development benefit from essentially ‘drag-n-drop’ functionality that can be customized with code after the fact.

The bottom line: Hybrid development is more efficient.

Hybrid costs less (and is more accessible):

In a recent survey conducted by Stack Overflow, over 70% of developers identified themselves as some kind of “web developer.”  More specifically, JavaScript and HTML topped the list of most-known languages among devs.

Because these languages make up the most critical proficiencies in developing apps using the hybrid method, this also means that a much larger pool of developers can start to make great mobile apps. This helps to drive down overall app development costs associated both with the time it takes to create an app and with the exclusivity of the skills needed to do so.

It’s a win-win.

Those clinging to native development will find their niche (right now animation-heavy games are a good example) shrinking with each new generation of more powerful devices, and eventually resemble any professional who clings to a dated skillset not because it remains the best way of doing things, but because it’s what they know (and they invested time in becoming proficient in it).

Whether you’re a developer thinking of starting to create apps, or someone with an app idea wondering the best way to proceed, hybrid is likely your most efficient way forward, and that’s a statement that has fewer and fewer exceptions by the day.

Ready to start your development project?

Aquro has a fully-featured hybrid app development platform for creating Android and iOS apps, try it today for free!