Hybrid Mobile Application

September 20, 2013

A hybrid mobile application has a mix of native and web mobile capabilities. It is built using web-technologies and run on the native device. It provides web-browser capabilities (like dynamic web content).It also has access to native device features (like memory, camera).Development of hybrid applications is a consequent trend of the need to develop a mobile application supported by multiple device platforms and to leverage the advantages of both native and web mobile technologies.

The key web technologies used for mobile application development are HTML5, CSS 3.0 and JavaScript. HTML5 has new elements and attributes to support canvas, audio and video. It also provides strong support for API’s like Geolocation.CSS 3.0 supports responsive web-design which is key for multi-platform support. JavaScript supports user-interface experience and dynamic web content. The mobile application developed is then wrapped inside a native container which provides access to native platform features.

The advantage of hybrid applications is faster time to market, easier deployment and maintenance. The total cost of ownership is lower as cross platform adaptability is easier. The content created or stored in a native device can be transferred easily across the web. The content of a hybrid app is available on the web and searchable. These features can be a huge benefit for enterprise mobile applications like field mobility-commerce.

The challenges associated with hybrid applications are lower performance than native apps. This is because of web page rendering and data access through multiple layers. The user experience is also low compared to native applications due to responsive web-design. There is a concern of security since content is made available through the web. This can be addressed by data encryption. Web technologies (like HTML5) are still evolving and they are expected to support more advanced features and high user-interface capabilities in the future. Web technologies with enhanced features can be used to develop applications with improved performance.

According to CMSWire “50% of mobile applications deployed will be hybrid in 2016”.Because organizations will increasingly look to strike a balance between features, performance and cost. Hybrid mobile applications with low ownership cost, web and native features and improved performance can achieve this balance. Hence hybrid mobile applications are here to stay and grow.