cross-platform vs hybrid app development

Smartphones are core to enhancing the customer’s digital experience in a user-centric business landscape. To leverage the increased number of mobile users and their ever-evolving excitement to stay hooked on mobile phones, businesses need to up their mobile app game.
However, building an app can overshoot your budget or overturn your vision if you have yet to plan everything. The app development approach is key to overcoming the scalability, cost, budget and timeline challenge businesses face.
Mobile app developers are divided between cross-platform and hybrid app development approaches. They prove to be cost-effective compared to native solutions; however, they may differ along other crucial factors.

This article will look at the cross-platform vs hybrid app development approaches to note how each works.

What is Cross-platform app development?

Cross-platform app development is when developers create an application with a single codebase and use it on multiple platforms. They are compatible with more than one operating system, which is why they are cross-platform.

These applications enhance the speed of development and increase the developer’s productivity. The cross platform developer like flutter developer need not create a special environment or habitat to enable this application to work. Several frameworks support your mobile app development goals. It is easy to maintain and upgrade these apps, which makes them a great asset for developers

Key Features

  • Code Reusability:You can create a single code and reuse the codebase for different platforms. You might need to make minor tweaks in some cases to create the native-like appeal
  • Reusability : This is possible with the Flutter framework alone. You can create a single interface design and use it on both iOS and Android platforms
  • Plugin Management: The frameworks allow you to create plugins and integrate it with the native libraries and use them as required. You can also integrate it with SDKs such as Titanium by PhoneGap and Rhodes.
  • Hot Reload: Without disturbing the production environment, developers can introduce new features or updates to the application. They can even test the app in a live environment.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Write the code once and use it anywhere for productive development

Performance can become an issue in some cases

Increased speed to market

Integrating the features can take a long while

Easy app management and maintenance

Limited number of tools to build an app

Reduced development costs

UX/UI design challenges that can lead to frustrations and friction.

Simple testing methods for faster bug detection

Excellent reach and visibility as you get to release on both platforms

Seamless integration with cloud platforms

What is Hybrid App Development?

Hybrid app development is a cusp of native and web applications to enhance usability. The app users can access these applications via web browsers, which are compatible with multiple browsers.

They are lightweight applications that can be accessed through WebView. You don’t need to download them, which saves extra space on your mobile phone. Akin to cross-platform applications, you can code the software application once and use it everywhere. The development and maintenance costs are low with this approach.

Key Features

  • Offline Support: You access these applications through webview, which means you don’t need the Internet to access the apps. As the data is stored in the app API, these applications grant access to data anywhere at any given time
  • Reusable Codes: Create the device-specific component and include them in the native container. This allows the users to use them across the web browsers easily
  • Plugin-based Development: To create a more native-like feel, you can use plugins that help manage the hardware and software for your apps. Eventually, you will notice an increase in agility and development speed.
  • One-language Development: You don’t need to learn different languages to develop a mobile application. You can use the ready-to-use frameworks and create the app for a better experience.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

It can speed up development, increasing developer’s productivity

Performance issues for the mobile app

You can customize mobile app development to meet unique requirements

Can delay your app releases and updates

Lowers the maintenance costs

Slow interface interaction can cause frustrations

Supports offline access

Better integrations

In-depth Comparison of Cross-platform versus Hybrid Development

We have seen what you mean by hybrid and cross-platform app development approaches in detail. Let’s look at an in-depth comparison of native vs hybrid vs cross-platform app development.

Factors

Native App Development

Hybrid App Development

Cross-platform Development

Security

It is a highly secure approach. In this case, the app can easily access the device-specific features. As a result, the authentication layers and security is tough and impenetrable

The hybrid app will access the device features through the webview. As a result, it will require more security enhancements. Web browsers can make the app vulnerable if not secure, leading to security threats.

It is easy to add security layers and improve the authentication of the app to make sure it is safe to use. It is much better than hybrid app development for security. However, you may not find the security as tight and able as the native app.

Cost

It is an expensive form of development as you need to create a codebase for the separate platforms

In this development approach, you need to use mobile and web development tools. It can be cost-effective compared to native app development

You can create a single codebase and use it across platforms. This approach uses fewer resources and popular frameworks to reduce costs.

Performance

High-performance and fast apps without compromising the quality

When you build high-end complex apps, they cannot replicate the native-like performance. You may experience slow speed and reduced performance

Frameworks like React Native and Flutter can help recreate a native-like experience

Bugs and Quality

You need to work on separate codebases to debug and check the quality. It can result in increased spend and resources for debugging

You need to work on web and mobile app bug fixing. As a result, it can take a bit more time than cross platform apps

As you will be debugging a single codebase, you can spend fewer hours and get the app out.

Tools and Frameworks

You need to use native programming languages and tech stack to create the application

  • Swift and Objective-C for iOS development
  • Java and Kotlin for Android development

PhoneGap, Ionic and Xamarin are popular frameworks for hybrid app development

Flutter, React Native, Xamarin, NativeScript, Appcelerator and Corona

Maintenance

The native approach are high on maintenance. You might note that you require a separate developer to constantly work on maintaining and fixing the app

As you will be working on both web and mobile app development tools and technologies, you will need to invest more time and money into maintaining the applications.

It is easier to maintain cross-platform apps as you will be working on a single codebase.

UI/UX Design

The app’s UI and UX are designed in sync with the platform-specific guidelines. As a result, the interaction and experience are frictionless.

The app interface is designed uniformly for all the platforms. It is done keeping in mind the web browsers and platforms. As a result, it may not be as clean and smooth as native app development

The app interface and experience are designed to give a more native feel and appearance.

Time to Market

You will need separate teams to manage the iOS and Android app development. As a result, the time taken will be more. The resources will spend time individually into developing the application

It is a faster approach to developing the mobile application. You will use the basic web frameworks and core technologies such as HTML and CSS, which results in faster development

This is a faster development method as you need to create a single codebase. You can use several development frameworks to plan the app development.

Accessibility to Device Features

The native apps can directly access the device components

The hybrid apps will need to use plugins to access the device features. There are a lot of third-party plugins that they can use for the purpose

The frameworks can help access the features directly. While it may not be as smooth as native apps, it is better than the hybrid apps

Updates

As the app is layered on the specific operating system, it becomes easier for the mobile application to update the features in real-time

It takes a while for the OS update to reach the hybrid platforms. As a result, updates take a while

you may not access real-time updates with cross-platform. However, using plugins and widgets, you can release these updates faster than with a hybrid development approach.

Developer Expertise

You will need experts in iOS and Android separately to develop mobile applications for both native platforms

You can work with developers with expertise in HTML5 and CSS to build hybrid apps. They are easily accessible, and the talent pool is rich.

You may need developers with expertise in JavaScript technologies or specific cross-platform frameworks. They are easily accessible, and there are several developers available. However, you might need to find a framework-specific developer for the tech stack planned. You may face some challenges in this case, and it may be more challenging than hybrid app development.

Key Takeaways:

  • In the native vs hybrid vs cross-platform comparison, the most secure and reliable approach is native app development
  • In the hybrid vs cross-platform app development approach, hybrid development takes less time to release the product. However, it is not best suited for a high-end and complex app. The cross-platform offers a better experience than the hybrid app in hybrid app vs cross-platform development approach.

If you want security and high-quality advanced app solutions and a suitable budget, you can go with native app development. Hybrid app development is best suited if you want to build a lightweight, not-so-complex app with a limited budget and time.

Conclusion

In the debate on hybrid app vs cross platform development, you can choose cross platform when creating high-end and complex apps. React Native, or Flutter app development can help you with the right solutions. However, if you want to improve offline support and enhance accessibility, you can work with a hybrid development approach. This is a great approach if you want to keep the app lightweight and allow access without downloading. It will also lower the learning curve and time to market.

Whether you choose a hybrid or cross-platform app development approach, you should partner with a solid team of developers. Hire dedicated cross-platform or hybrid developers from Best Remote Team. We have a fully vetted and finely sourced team you can hire through flexible engagement models. Connect with our team to hire the best fit team for your needs now.

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