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Hybrid Mobile Apps: Benefits And Limitations

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By Author: Graymen Technologies
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Hybrid Mobile Apps can be thought of simple applications that are installed on a device. They are different from Native apps in the way that hybrid apps have combined elements of native apps and web apps. The need and popularity of hybrid mobile apps are increasing with the passage of time. Recent businesses find it useful to create a hybrid mobile app rather than a native app.

Native apps are developed for single targeted platforms such as iOS or Android. Web apps are freely available on the internet with the help of a browser and are not installed locally.

To use a hybrid app, a native container that utilizes a mobile WebView object is used. This is the object that displays web content when you use a hybrid app. In reality, it displays web pages (adapted to a WebView) from a desktop website. The web content can be displayed as the app opens.

For accessing hardware features of the devices, native code will be utilized to access the specific features. Ultimately, it results in near to perfect user experience. Hybrid apps also depend on platforms which provide JavaScript APIs if in case, these functionalities are called in a WebView.
Benefits of Hybrid Apps
Hybrid Apps provide a number of benefits:
• It puts together user experience with agile development cycle and controlled costs

• The same code is used for all mobile platforms.

• Hybrid apps have reduced development time and cost as native apps require developing code for each different mobile platform.

• Offline support helps users to stay connected to some of the features of apps in the absence of network

• Yes, the native app offers the amazing user experience, a hybrid app also offers most of that along with a simple backend structure.

• Although, native apps have set high standards in terms of speed and performance. Hybrid apps are comparatively faster than mobile web apps or responsive websites.

• Attractive UI/UX designs is another benefit of hybrid apps. Hybrid apps offer good user experience and error-free performance to app users.

What are the shortcomings of hybrid apps?

• The user interface is limited. The design of hybrid apps does not give the real feel of native apps. Hence, the user interface does not look perfectly consistent. Since WebView is used and it does not permit the usage of the full potential of a device, further probabilities are also limited.

• Slower performance and transition between pages. When you want to move to the next page, it takes too much time that kills your interest in the app.

• Hybrid apps are quite dependent on the browser’s speed. Slow browser speed will result in slow performance that ultimately affects the user satisfaction level.

• With Hybrid apps, it is almost impractical to use the full potential of platforms. Every platform iOS or Android has a unique capacity that a developer may want to use. In this case, code and plugins specific to each platform will be used to achieve this on a hybrid app. It makes the app development project more complicated.

What are the results of the testing phases?
Automated testing
Process of testing a hybrid app is quite similar to that of web apps. A script is written for every test case. At the initial phase, these test phases seem easy.

Level of complicacy increases when the application contains native code which is often the case. Hence, ultimately every test case will have more than one test scripts. And every test script is written in the native language of the platform on which tests are to be performed.

One will require looking at bugs that can occur on different platforms, maintaining the condition that all versions are synchronized.

Manual testing
To perform manual tests on a hybrid app is quite different from the tests performed on native applications. If this is the given condition while writing a testing strategy, all the effort, kinds of tests, and the steps will need to be adjusted to address the graphical features completely.

Having a WebView increases risk to the app as a person will have to check whether WebView integration is properly completed. One will also need to ensure that there is a proper adaptation to the screen resolutions of devices.

The mobile environment can also put an effect on the web app part. Hence, special attention should be given. Ultimately, one needs to take care of native-WebView interactions with regards to the session dimensions. For instance, a user must have good experience in WebView in order to login into the native part of the app.

Hence, the major hurdle that comes with manual testing is to ensure smooth user experience. The choice between a native app and a hybrid app is quite technical and it should be taken by an internal and organizational decision only. Moreover, it should not have any impact or shortcoming for app users.

How to select the right app type?
Prior to taking a decision on creating a hybrid app, an entity needs to consider various factors in order to start a digital product that gives complete satisfaction to all the users. Here are some questions that will help you to select an appropriate development strategy for the project to get success.

• In what way users will access the application?
• Should it be made available in App Stores?
• Do we require updating it often?
• What kind of development resources do we have?
• What is the difficulty level of the functionalities that we want to create?
• Is there a necessity to use devices’ native functionalities?
• What type of user satisfaction do we want to provide?
• At which user group is we targeting?

Hybrid apps having certain limitations are still in demand. The reason behind it is that hybrid mobile apps are developed in such a way so that they can be easily operated on more than one platforms such as Android and iOS. Hybrid app development comes under the latest software development trends that big organizations follow nowadays.

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