In our annual report 'The State of Mobile' we have identified five very concrete evolutions you should understand to stay on top of the digital game in 2017. The third is the rebirth of hybrid. Hybrid apps have resurrected, and they come in many forms. But the crucial choice of which type of hybrid development to apply, has become difficult.
Where is this trend coming from?
Hybrid mobile development is nearly as old as native development. Shortly after the native SDK’s, Unity started supporting iOS & Android to facilitate cross-platform gaming apps, and Phonegap was launched, causing the first wave of hybrid apps.
At that time, early 2009, web was seen as the future of app development, but soon the first hiccups appeared: webviews could not match the quality of native views. And they were a royal pain to debug, as decent development tools were lacking, and platforms and their respective versions varied enormously. On top of that, new UX paradigms started to emerge that could not be realised with web technology at that time.
In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg called the hybrid Facebook app the biggest mistake he had ever made. Facebook went native and others followed soon: the first wave of hybrid apps died, hooray for native development.
How is this trend evolving?
Today, Hybrid 2.0 is thriving and can be defined in 3 categories of hybrid apps:
- HTML/JS-based,with server-side rendering (“wrapper apps”)
- HTML/JS-based,with client-side rendering (e.g. Cordova based apps)
- Intermediate language that results in a native app (Xamarin, React Native & Unity)