The hybrid mobile application

Business owners face choices between native, web, and hybrid apps, with hybrids offering versatile, cost-effective, multi-platform solutions.

Many business owners express confusion when confronted with the possibility of launching their mobile app through multiple methods. Traditionally, the decision was less complex, as there were only two apps to choose from: the native app and the web app. Today, however, there is a new addition to the list: the hybrid app.

What is a hybrid app?

A hybrid app combines elements of both web and native apps. Web apps, generalised for several platforms, are not installed on a computer or other device but can be accessed over the internet. Native apps developed for a specific platform are installed on a computer or other device.

  • The hybrid app, being a combination of both native and web apps, offers several features, including:
  • The ability to constantly function whether the user’s device is online or not
  • Integration with the file system of a device
  • Improved access to online content via an embedded browser
  • The ability to integrate with web-based services

Most of today’s apps are hybrid, offering features such as locally stored content and the ability to access online services.


Hybrid mobile apps also use a combination of web technologies. For example, JavaScript, HTML and CSS may be used to build a hybrid app. A hybrid app is also hosted inside a native application. This native application uses the WebView of a mobile device’s operating system to access the capabilities within a device. Some examples of the capabilities a hybrid app can access include the contact list, camera and accelerometer.

Benefits of building a hybrid framework

There are many benefits to building a hybrid app:

  • High-speed performance
  • Low cost
  • Ease of development
  • Simple backend
  • Attractive UI/UX designs
  • Offline support
  • Integration with other apps
  • Multi-platform support
  • Qualified for online marketplace

The hybrid app can also obtain increased visibility due to its ability to be distributed to mobile browsers via search engines and natively via app stores.

Hybrid framework tools

Those looking to develop hybrid apps can choose between multiple tools. The prominent leaders are PhoneGap and Appcelerator, while others include Mobile Angular UI, Sencha Touch, and Intel XDK.

Typically, a developer would create local CSS, Javascript or HTML files and then design the hybrid app as they would a website. The last step would be using Cordova, allowing them to convert the information into a mobile app.

As easy as it can be to create a hybrid app, the challenge is getting the app to run correctly on each platform. This can take much work, so choosing to develop a hybrid app depends on the app’s simplicity and how close a developer wants to get the user to a native experience.

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