Hybrid mobile apps are back, baby!

Hybrid apps, again? Really?

Some of you may not know but we launched hybrid mobile apps back in 2013 but the concept didn’t took off much. Mostly because of, well, performance issues.

Hybrid apps sucked back then.

So, again, few months back we relaunched the mobile apps, this time, native of course.

Performance was great, it was beautiful too. Our customers loved it too.

However there is a slight problem: customizations. I mean, for simple apps, it is alright where you can just compile the whole thing and upload to Google Play store and App store.

But things get really slow while developing extensions or customizations.

This led us to look for better alternatives and we discovered Ionic framework. In past we have tried Appcelerator which also produces hybrid apps, but the look and feel was nothing as compared to ionic framework.

The hybrid app created with Ionic ran almost as a native app on Android. We still have to do tests with iOS devices.

Another platform we also considered was React but we found Ionic more suitable.

Ok, so coming back to the topic: why we think it was a good idea to reconsider hybrid apps?

#1 User Interaction

A lot has been changed in hybrid mobile apps space in last 3 years. Earlier, the biggest problem, I believe, was responsiveness of hybrid apps in mobile devices. There was a little lag between touch and actual movement on screen.

This is no more the case. Sure, hybrid apps can be a tiny bit less responsive but for an average user, it doesn’t make much difference.

As a developer considering, the gains we’ll see in points below, it is well worth it.

#2 Speed of development

Every week we have to turn down a lot of customization requests from our clients because usually developers are always busy. Even addition of a simple action / button can take up 10 hours to push in native apps.

With hybrid apps, all we need to do is modify a little Typescript (fancy Javascript) and HTML.

(screenshot of codebase of our latest hybrid app)

#3 Hardware API support

As more and more developers jumped in, hybrid frameworks like Cordova/Phonegap are constantly updating and we’ve barely run across any compatibility issue. In short, whatever a native app can do with core device function, hybrid apps can do.

Oh, and there’s no performance lag either. After all, JavaScript on devices is getting better too J

#4 Development & Extension

My favorite. Developing with Ionic has been awesome experience. It is fast to setup development environments (unlike for Native apps).

To deploy my hybrid app, all I have to do is:

  • Checkout from repo
  • Run ‘npm install’
  • Run ‘ionic serve’

Application can be instantly previewed in browser, and can also run in emulator or a real device.

There’s also live reload for browsers. (There is for emulators as well but I have not been able to work successfully with it in Ionic v2 yet)

#5 Relaxed APK and IPA generation

This one applies for Ionic framework only. When your application is ready, all you have to do is “ionic build publish <platform>”, this command will send your application on ionic’s servers which they’ll build themselves.

Then you can login to your dashboard and, there, your application’s apk and ipa packages are ready to be deployed.

 

That’s heaven for developers! All focus on code, no worries about packaging, building or anything else.

What it means for Crowd Vox?

Our hybrid app is currently under development, and we’ll update once it is launched.

We’ll keep the native apps as an option too, since many clients might only need native.

For clients needing customizations, we’ll suggest hybrid apps.

If you wish to purchase hybrid apps in future, you can contact us and as a pre-sales offer, we’ll give 50% off. If you’re interested in a demo, it is available on-demand.