Top 5 Hybrid App Development Frameworks

Android App Development, Mobile App Development

Before we go on talking about the top hybrid app development frameworks, let’s us first answer the question that may pop up in our dear reader’s mind.

What is Hybrid App Development?

Hybrid means blended. A hybrid-mobile solution is an application that is written with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. However, instead of the app being shown within the user’s browser, it is run within a native application and its embedded browser, which is invisible to the user. For example, an iOS app would use the WKWebView to display the application, while on Android, it would use the WebView element for performing the same.

In short, the hybrid app is a cocktail of both native and web solutions. Resultantly, it eases the developers’ life as they have to write code once for varied platforms.

What are the Benefits of Hybrid App Development?

Now quickly glance through the numerous benefits a hybrid app development offers:

1. Attractive UX/UI

Hybrid solutions give flawless and consistent user experience across different platforms, be it Android or iOS. Moreover, lightweight UI accelerate the content and graphic loading process.

2. Time Saver

One of the prime advantages of a hybrid solution is its simplified and faster development cycle, in comparison to the native counterpart. Software companies can leverage their existing development pool for designing the app as the only prerequisite for this is the knowledge of JavaScript and HTML.

3. Offline Accessibility

According to a statistical review done by Google,70% of the users abandon a mobile application, which is slow to load. In such cases, the offline accessibility feature of a hybrid app development approach becomes very handy. 

4. Better Maintenance

In native applications, the development teams have to produce new versions with each update. Also, the users need to update with every upcoming version. A hybrid app, on the other hand, go past the versioning and make the app maintenance simpler and better.

5. Lower Development Cost

Contrary to the native app development, hybrid applications avail a single codebase for different platforms. This, as a result, fastens the development process and thereby reduces various marketing plus operational costs. 

6. Enhanced Performance

Owing to no dependency on network communication, hybrid apps offer high performance and speed standards.

What are the Top Hybrid App Development Frameworks?

Having discussed the features and functionality of a hybrid solution, let’s jump to a brief description of the topmost hybrid app development frameworks available in the market.

1. Xamarin

Xamarin is one of the key mobile app development frameworks that has been employed in a varied number of organizations for an excellent purpose. The Xamarin platform is known to abide by the WORA (Write once, Run anytime) principle. Xamarin is designed to create mobile business applications with a native look and feel.

Features:

  1. Microsoft has got its back, supporting all the technical support that a tool can ask for.
  2. More than 70% of the code is reusable between iOS and Android; thereby, less code is to be written for your application.
  3. Easy to run tests on these applications
  4. Xamarin assures that the level of performance matches a Native Mobile app’.
  5. Xamarin Forms is the tool that provides you with the platform-specific features.

Advantages

1. Armed with Visual Studio

As it is armed with Visual Studio, it gives you the essential .NET/C# framework to create top-performing real-native binary code output for the app development.

2. Shared App Logic

“Write once share everywhere” software paradigm ensures that the code reaches market in less time. All you need to do is to write some unique code, as required, and the rest is going to be shared. 

3. Test Cloud

Xamarian test cloud allows the testing of apps on thousands of devices. Also, l its incredible reporting system where you will be able to pinpoint the loopholes and fix them in the minimum time possible.

4. Component Store

An excellent collection of themes, UI controls, graphs, charts, cloud services, and other such powerful features assist in enhancing the functionalities of your solution. 

5. Easy Subscription

Fewer subscription plans ease the life of businesses, individuals, and enterprises. The plans have different price ranges and depending on the business requirements, one can choose.

Disadvantages

1. Application Overhead

Built-in app overhead is a significant problem. This affects the download time and storage space required for the app in user devices. 

2. Small Community

One of the major disadvantages of Xamarin is its small community. Android, iOS, and NET developers have huge community groups, support forums, and communities with huge knowledge. In comparison to all the above, Xamarin is quite new, and hence, the community still needs to develop. 

3. Unshareable Code

Xamarin Code cannot be shared in its original form; instead, one needs to import and bind Java and Objective C with C# if they wish to operate on this framework.

4. Manual Operation

Not always “write one, code anywhere” phrase stands true because some of the code has to be written individually for each platform. The UI development for each platform is quite time consuming, since it has to be done manually.

2. React Native

One of the primary purposes of this framework is to develop native applications over hybrid applications that run on a web-view. The coding will still be done via React and javascript, and it is not going to be very customized for beginners, but its active community can help you resolve issues, the soonest possible. With its latest version, they have extended their support to Android, which is also a welcoming move.

Apps created using React Native include Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Ads Manager, Bloomberg, UberEATS, Vogue, Walmart, Airbnb, and many more in which some of them are React Native/Hybrid Native Apps.

Features

  1. Numerous ready to use components for speeding up the development cycle.
  2. It comes with a provision to copy the code base between Android and iOS. 
  3. It provides a facility of hot deployment without requiring the developer to save the changes.
  4. Bugs can be identified easily as the coding is done in a declarative style.

Advantages

1. Faster Development cycle

One of the finest features of React is that one has to build the app using Javascript. This accelerate the whole software development cycle and reduces costs. On the contrary, a native app will need separate plans for different platforms.  

2. Free of Cost

React Native is wholly open-sourced. It implies that the developers can make use of the libraries and frameworks for free.

3. Easy to Push Updates

React Native supports an incredible feature called over-the-air updates. This tool allows you to bypass the tiresome market approval process if you wish to make minor changes rapidly. You just have to bounce an updated version, the users will download it, and the solution upgrades.

4. Feels like Native

As per the research carried by John Calderaio, for comparing the performance of the same application built in React Native and Swift; React Native had the edge over Swift in GPU usage and memory consumption.

5. Popularity of Javascript

As per a survey done by StackOverflow in 2017, JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world, and as we have mentioned earlier- React Native is written in JavaScript.

Disadvantages

1. Few Developers

Compared to the native technologies, there are very few React Native developers present. This means that acquiring a team of React experts is a challenging task.

2. Open-source Libraries

Open-source libraries of React aren’t properly tested. You got doubts, listen to this.

3. Maintainability

Any third party library in RN that one might use could get obsolete or become incompatible with the updated codebase. Therefore, maintainability is a considerable problem.

3. Flutter

Flutter is a mobile app SDK used for creating the best quality native interfaces on iOS and Android. The Google framework was launched in the year 2018 and worked well with the existing written program. Futter is an open-source mobile app development platform with benefits like widgets, foundation libraries, and more. Flutter also helps one with the development of cross-platform applications.

Features

  1. Flutter is open-source.
  2. Flutter is dart based.
  3. The benefit of a wide range of widgets is that it can be customized as per the needs.
  4. Flutter is an excellent competition to React Native in terms of performance and responsiveness.
  5. It is perfect for MVP development.
  6. Easy to use interfaces.

Advantages

1. Good for MVP

Flutter is useful for developing Minimum Viable Products owing to its cross-platform nature and faster development process. Various SMEs and modern undertakings are thus employing Flutter for increasing the development speed and to obtain maximum outputs.

2. Excellent UI

Flutter creates fantastic and expressive user interfaces using varied features such as built-in design-centric widgets, advanced APIs, and other such high-end development tools.

3. Reactive Framework

With the reactive framework, the developers need not update UI contents by themselves. Once the variables are updated, automatically, the UI changes will be reflected.

Disadvantages

1. Requires Consistent Support

It requires continuous integration support through script maintenance, as CI platforms like Jenkins do not back Flutter on a larger scale.

2. Limited Libraries

Libraries in Flutter don’t provide all the features needed by developers. Such functionalities have to be developed by the developers themselves.

3. Web Browsers Don’t Support Flutter

Applications developed in Flutter are supported in iOS and Android, not web browsers. 

4. PhoneGap

Being open-source and mobile-centric; Phonegap is one of the most famous hybrid app development frameworks. It is used by many experienced developers owing to its popularity. Phonegap, a fully customized hybrid technology, can deliver feature-rich and robust applications. It works efficiently across multiple platforms and reaches a broader audience in a shorter span of time.

Features

  1. Single code development for a huge number of platforms such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian, and iPad. 
  2. Built on technologies like HTML, CSS3 and JavaScript providing rich experience.
  3. PhoneGap is an Open-source and cross-platform.
  4. It has native functionality.
  5. PhoneGap can be extended with native plugins and let developers add more functionalities.

Advantages

1. No Need for hiring experts

Native app development needs developers who would probably be required only to develop products for a specific platform. But in PhoneGap, just a working knowledge of CSS3, Javascript and HTML5 will all it take for cross-platform app development. 

2. Robust Backend

A highly robust and stable backend system assists in rapid product development and reduced development efforts.

3. Supported by Apache

PhoneGap is powered by Apache Cordova and it even contains several tools that bind with other Adobe services. Hence, one can also say that Adobe is backing up this technology.

4. Plugins

PhoneGap supports several Cordova or PhoneGap plugins, helping in extending the native functionalities while developing solutions.

Disadvantages

Doesn’t support Plugins with Hooks.PhoneGap Builds do not support plugins with hooks, so sometimes it can interfere with the functionality.

1. Plugins May Get Obsolete

Sometimes, the plugins in PhoneGap could get obsolete, and this could obstruct the app functionality. Also, for some features, you don’t even have a related plugin. For instance, geolocation in your application may not function properly, or the camera may not work. One may realise this fact only half-way through the project, and that simply is not an option.

2. Doubtful in the Case of Hardware-based Apps

Owing to the complicated plugins and APIs, PhoneGap may not succeed in a gaming app development. The developers are doubtlessly to experience ‘drop’ and ‘freeze’ issues after the push notifications.

3. Mac is Required for iOS Applications

PhoneGap app developers cannot develop an iOS application without downloading iOS SDKs which in turn is not at all possible without a Mac.

5. Framework7

Framework7 is a free and open-source mobile HTML framework for developing hybrid and web apps with iOS and Android native look plus feel.

The main approach of the Framework7 is to allow you to create iOS and Android apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript easily and clear. This framework is focused only on iOS and Google Material design to bring the best experience and simplicity.

Features

  1. Native scrolling
  2. Library agnostic
  3. Multiple views support
  4. Hardware-accelerated animations via CSS3.

Advantages

1. Choose Yourself

It gives you a choice to develop Android and iOS apps only by using HTML, CSS and JS.

2. Similar Syntax

The syntax of this framework is quite identical to JQuery.

3. No Extra Learning

One doesn’t need to master iOS and Android in order to develop a mobile application.

4. Easy-to-create

Developing any mobile app using Framework 7 is not tougher than creating a website.

5. Works Well with Other Frameworks

Framework7 can easily be used with other frameworks like react and angular.

Disadvantages

1. Apple Environment

Framework7 was built around the Apple environment and because of that, themes might not look very well on the Android devices.

2. No Extra Support

Framework7 doesn’t support platforms except Android and IOS.

3. Support Forums

The support forums used in this particular framework are not so easy to use.

 Summing up!

Whenever you are selecting a hybrid app framework, you have to pay special concern to your target and ask yourself a question– what do I want from this app?

Choose a suitable hybrid mobile app framework for your software requirements.

In case of any query regarding the hybrid mobile app frameworks, feel free to contact Matellio.