Section 508

December 18th, 2013

Why hybrid apps?

Over the past 3 years HTML5 web apps and hybrid apps have come to make up a majority of app development. Consumer apps, enterprise apps and games are developed using a combination of the latest web technology and native app technology. This despite the fact that native apps will almost always beat hybrid apps in terms of user experience and performance and that the notion of developing once and launching for all devices is completely false. So if this is the case then why do hybrid apps make up such a large part of app development and why do we recommend this approach for some of our customers?

There are several great reasons:

1. Maintenance cost
Although the cost of development of a hybrid app is about the same as for native apps, the cost of maintenance is considerably lower. The explanation is simple. With a web app, native iOS app and native Android app has to be done in 3 places. With a hybrid app the change is done once in the web app and deployed across web, iOS and Android.

2. Access to developers
Find great web developers is hard but finding great  iOS and Android developers is even harder. As long as you outsource the development and maintenance to an agency with all skills this is not a problem but if you decide to bring development in-house at some point then this will be a major challenge. Usually it means that you will require not one but at least three developers. Using web standards the challenge will be minimum.

3. User experience and performance
Over the past couple of years browsers and mobile networks have vastly improved and with this the user experience and performance. Today a web app can support offline storage and access to content just as well as native apps and unless you need advanced animation and 3D graphics then the user interface from native apps can be replicated with a few minor challenges. Simply put, the user experience can be as good as a native app with minor trade-offs that are acceptable to most companies and users.

4. Time to market
With native apps it can take several weeks for a bug fix or enhancement to get to users due to the app approval process. With hybrid apps updates can take place instantly which can be a great advantage for new services.

Major brands and enterprises such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin’ can afford to keep big development and maintenance teams but many smaller businesses need to work smarter. After years of development, hybrid apps have finally reached a state of maturity that makes it an alternative to native app development.

DMI has developed over 100 web apps and hybrid apps over the last couple of years for leading brands and start-ups. We’ve tried most available solutions on the market and our recommended approach is based on best practice web app development combined with Phonegap.

For more information about our technical approach please contact us.

Tags: App development hybrid apps insights mobile apps ux/ui

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