Since the beginning of the smartphone, the field of app development has grown into something much larger than most people probably imagined could happen. Every quarter smartphone sales go up and up, and its become abundantly clear that Android, iOS, and Windows phones are here to stay, and along with them, mobile applications and app development. As more and more people flock to the mobile marketplace, either to buy apps or to sell them, more and more fresh new ideas take pop up. Perhaps the most important idea to hit the digital marketplace in recent years is the idea of hybrid app development.
Hybrid apps are mobile apps that are built using HTML5, and are becoming an ever popular way to create mobile apps. This new technology has spurred some debate over what kind of app development is best: native apps built specific to their respective platforms (Android, iOS, or Windows), or hybrid apps available for distribution over all of the mobile platforms. Many claim that native apps are superior simply because each app is built to the fullest capabilities of that platform – an app that utilizes Siri on iOS, for example. Others claim that Hybrid apps built with HTML5 offer a bigger bang for the buck since you can spend half the time creating an app that will reach twice the market.
What are the main differences between native and hybrid apps? Native apps are applications built using the standard technologies for their specific platforms – such as the Android SDK being used to develop and app for Android. Native appsare downloaded through app stores and are installed directly onto their system. HTML5 apps are built using HTML5 and other standard web development technologies, such as JavasScript, CSS, and of course HTML. HTML5 apps are cross-platform apps that can only be accessed through a web-browser. Hybrid apps are apps that are built like an HTML5 app, and then wrapped around a native shell. This allows them the flexibility of being cross-platform and internet based, andto be downloaded and even partially installed on the system.
It can be argued that native apps are still second to none, even when put through its paces in comparison to hybrid apps. While hybrid apps take a shotgun approach to development, it requires much more of HTML5 to accomplish what could be done just as well – or even better – on a native app. As well, a hybrid app cannot take advantage of platform-specific features, such as Siri voice command. However, hybrid apps are by far the most cost effective way to create an app for multiple platforms – both in terms of time and labor. A highly specialized type of knowledge is required when making native apps, a specialized knowledge that is not needed when creating hybrid apps.
Hybrid apps are the newest of technologies in the app development field, and while there may be an argument over which is superior, native or hybrid apps, on thing is for certain: hybrid apps will not be disappearing anytime soon.