o you want to start designing a mobile application? Do you know that they exist in different forms?

Each type of application has its own characteristics, it's up to you to know the most suitable solution according to your needs.

In this article, we introduce the hybrid mobile app, its features, advantages and disadvantages. Still little known, it is nevertheless an ideal solution for many types of project.

Hybrid Mobile Application: Definition

What are the characteristics of a hybrid application?

A hybrid application is an application whose source code allows it to be used on all the main operating systems on smartphones or tablets: iOS, Android or even Windows Phone.

Hybrid technology reduces development time and project cost , since a single source code generates multiple applications. It actually combines elements of native apps and web apps.

Web development and cross platform technologies

A hybrid mobile application is developed with web languages ​​like HTML5, CSS or JavaScript . In terms of user experience, the optimized display is similar to a website but is displayed in a dedicated window. It is also possible to update the application using native code, to deploy new features.

The most used technologies for the development of hybrid applications are two cross-platform frameworks:

  1. React Native – an open source framework created by Facebook based on its Javascript library and which allows to create user interfaces on mobile platforms. It helps transfer web development concepts into mobile development.
  2. Flutter – on the same principle, uses the Dart language. Flutter and Dart were created by Google which uses it for its most important applications. 
    Note that for web developers new to this type of development, React Native is easier to master because the JavaScript language is already known.

The different types of mobile applications

To help you better understand the difference between hybrid apps and other types of apps, here are their key features.

#1 Native apps

Native applications , first of all, are software developed specifically according to the operating system for which they will be intended.

Each operating system requires a different programming language:

  • Objective-C and Swift on iOS,
  • Java and Kotlin on Android,
  • C# for Windows Store.

Native technologies are used to provide a quality user experience with recurring use, thanks to the presence of the application on the desktop.

However, having a source code for each system makes the development of native applications very expensive . It is also the most used technology, which considerably reduces the visibility of a native application.

#2 Progressive Web Apps

A Progressive Web Apps (PWA) combines the advantages of websites and mobile applications, as they are built using web technologies but behave like applications.

Development costs are thus limited because there is no need for specific development.

The application has some disadvantages all the same:

  • PWAs are not present on app stores ,
  • They consume more energy
  • Access to phone features is limited

#3 Hybrid apps

Hybrid applications are a mix that allows you to benefit from the advantages of native applications without developing source code in the language of each platform. 

The advantages of the hybrid application

The benefits are multiple. First, the cost is considerably reduced since only one code is developed , the production time is halved compared to a native application. As a result, the cost of maintenance and updates is also reduced .

Thanks to this single source code, the speed of development and deployment of the application is multiplied. The time to market for Android and iOS is fast since both are created at the same time.

The choice of the hybrid therefore responds to the constraints of tight schedules for companies. And this access to the main operating systems promotes its commercial development since the application benefits from the visibility of the AppStore and the Play Store .

Another significant advantage, hybrid development uses more widespread technologies than for the development of native applications. Professionals for this type of project are therefore more accessible .

A hybrid application also provides access to features of a mobile device such as storage or the camera.

Besides, it can also work without internet connection to some extent. Like the two examples detailed above, many quality frameworks can accompany its development. This makes it possible to create a powerful application. Known applications have been developed in hybrid, such as LinkedIn or the Financial Times. 

However, depending on the needs and type of activity of the company, the hybrid application may have certain limitations .

The disadvantages of the hybrid application

Hybrid apps also have their downsides.

At the development level, the user experience will be less good than on a native application because compromises are made to be able to be used on several systems.

Native technology requires the addition of plug-ins to take advantage of the full potential of Android and iOS platforms, which must be coded additionally. What slightly decrease the performance of the application. The customization of the design of your application is also limited since the interface is the same for all platforms. 

Another downside is its offline use . Although this is possible, it remains underdeveloped for the most complex applications. 

During use, a lack of fluidity can be felt because the majority of data is stored on a server. We could also mention the less satisfactory level of security or the dependence on third-party tools (frameworks).

Finally, depending on its needs and its budget, it is up to the company to determine which type of application is best suited for its project. 

Entrust your project to a web development agency

For the design of your project, you could go to a freelancer or to a specific type of agency. But you will get better benefits with a digital communication agency specializing in web development like Web Studios .

We are a human-sized agency that concentrates several types of expertise to meet the needs of all types of customers.

Entrusting your project to an agency such as ours means ensuring quality work with regular validation points to correctly respond to your request. 

Clearly define your specifications

Do you want a detailed estimate of the feasibility, budgets and deadlines for your hybrid mobile application project? Be sure to entrust detailed and exhaustive specifications to your service provider.

The specifications are an essential element . It is used to list, list and define all the elements to be taken into account in your project.

It is as useful for you as it is for us, because it will allow you to define:

  • your target,
  • The functionalities of the application or,
  • The responsibilities of your employees.

To avoid misunderstandings and waste of time, the drafting of this document is mandatory. Context, objectives, specificities, graphic charter, models, deadlines... Design your specifications by following all the essential steps.

The stages of the project

The key stages of a project at Web Studios are:

  1. The definition and design of the project: specifications, needs, user journey,
  2. Reflection on design and ergonomics: user experience, models, graphic charter, etc.,
  3. Technical development: Front-End and Back-End development, graphic integration and content integration and finally,
  4. Support: training, acquisition and retention of users, project review and feedback.

For what budget?

The price of your hybrid mobile application is not fixed. It depends on several factors according to your needs defined in your specifications.

Above all, the more features your application contains, the longer the creation time, so the price increases. The complexity of features also impacts this factor.

In terms of compatibility of your application with different platforms, hybrid development will always be faster and more affordable than native development.

One can identify other factors, such as the Backend and Back Office infrastructure that will need to be customized to meet your business needs.

One of the last points to take into account and which will impact the price after the creation of your application is maintenance . An essential service that allows:

  • Bug fixing,
  • Code optimization,
  • Support for the latest Android and iOS versions,
  • Developing new features...

Conclusion

The objective of this article was to present the interests and characteristics of a mobile application for a company.

Each type of application, native, PWA and hybrid, responds to different uses and objectives . For a complex project developed for a single operating system, the native application will be the most suitable.

If you want to offer an accessible application without any download necessary via Google, the Progressive Web App will be a more relevant solution. And for a compromise that is easy and quick to set up, then the hybrid application is the best option!