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Everything You Need to Know About Hybrid Apps

Introduction

So you probably know what a Native app is, but do you know what hybrid applications are? You might think that it is a cross-platform app, but it is actually more than that. In this article, I will discuss everything that you need to know about Hybrid apps: What they are, how they’re built, and many more. Read through the entire article because this is an interesting topic. Are you ready? Then let’s go!

What are Hybrid Apps?


To begin this article, it is best that I talk what a hybrid app actually is. This kind of app is actually built using a single codebase and it makes use of common languages typically used in web development such as HTML, CSS, and Java. Although they make use of programming languages that are typically used for web applications, hybrid apps are encased in a native shell which means that they can be run just like any native app development. In simpler terms, they act as a smartphone application, only that they are coded differently.

How Are They Built?


Now that you know what they are, let’s talk about how they’re made. Hybrid apps are built using the aforementioned programming languages, but they use a native container that is hosted by a WebView.
Okay, I know this is complicated, but it actually isn’t. In layman’s terms, the WebView allows the hybrid app to access different smartphone capabilities with the use of Plug- ins (which is where the “WebView” part comes in). These plugins can be found on the different development software that creates this kind
of app. For the purposes of this article, we are just going to use Apache Cordova as an example. The Apache Cordova is actually a platform that allows a developer to make use of Javascript APIs (Application Program Interface) that will also lead to the use of plugins. And, you already know what plugins do, right? To reiterate, plugins have APIs that will help an application use the smartphone’s capabilities, which include the device’s contacts, camera, accelerometer, and many more. After the developer uses the Apache Cordova Software, the final application will then run on different mobile operating systems. Pretty easy, right?

Why do Developers Like Creating Hybrid Applications?

Well, there are actually plenty of reasons why they want to. First, because developers can use programming languages that are also used in web development, they can repurpose their skills to create an application with cross-platform support. You see, most developers are taught these web development skills early on in their courses, so it is refreshing to be able to revisit their old knowledge and put it to good use. Another reason why they like to build hybrid applications is that they do not want to build an app that is restricted to using a propriety platform and programming language. For instance, creating a native iOS app would mean that you need to learn Objective-C and Swift (Apple’s own programming language) and you also have to know how to use their XCode platform as well. For Android Developers, you can use the Software Development Kit (SDK) that is provided by the company and you will use Java as the main programming language. These restrictions actually limit the creativity of mobile app developers. Which is why they prefer developing Hybrid apps instead.

Final Thoughts

Hybrid applications are easy to do since it only uses a single codebase and it also utilizes the common programming languages used in web development such as HTML, CSS, and Java. Also, hybrid apps are created very well in that nobody can really spot the difference between a hybrid and a native application. It really doesn’t matter, so long as the end product is something useful and is bug-free.

Written By: Dawn Mason