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Hybrid mobile apps are like any other apps you’ll find on your phone. They install on your device. You can find them in app stores. With them, you can play games, engage your friends through social media, take photos, track your health, and much more.

Hybrid apps are a way to expose content from existing web sites in app format. They’re a great way to take your Web content and package it up for publishing in an app store. You can publish hybrid apps in any of the major app stores: Microsoft Windows Store, Google Play, Apple App Store, Amazon Appstore and even BlackBerry World.

The good news if you’re considering hybrid apps is you get to use familiar Web development skills. Hybrids are essentially Web site wrappers. Their foundation is the same old HTML, JavaScript and CSS you already know.

There’s an entire third-party ecosystem around building hybrid apps for the various app stores. As you might expect, there are templates for creating hybrid apps in Visual Studio. Popular vendors such as Xamarin, Telerik, DevExpress and Infragistics all have tools and controls that speed up the hybrid app development process.

Five best mobile cross-platform development tools :

PhoneGap:

PhoneGap is probably the most well-known cross platform development brand within the development community. The now Adobe-owned tool is based on the open source Apache Cordova project and is completely free to use, which goes some way to explain its popularity. Adobe is also working on an enterprise version of PhoneGap, which is currently undergoing a beta trial – and you can sign-up for it here. The enterprise version boasts marketing features via Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, so when it launches it will probably be monetised.

Unity :

Unity is a game development engine providing a full ecosystem incorporating intuitive tools and rapid workflows to easily create interactive 3D and 2D content. The engine offers multiplatform publishing via its Asset Store and has a full set of resources and knowledge bases online accessible by developers. In addition to games development for the mobile industry, Unity is also usable as a middleware development solution for the gambling, architecture, engineering and construction industries.

Corona SDK :

Corona is a development SDK which can be used to develop rich mobile apps for iOS, Android, Kindle and Nook from a single code base. Corona is created by Corona Labs Inc. a venture-backed mobile software company with a HQ in California. The SDK provides a state-of-the art graphic engine to enable cinematic effects in apps with a few lines of code. The Composer GUI acts as a visual editor, offering load and save scene/level functions, transtiong animation previews, custom shapes, lines and text amongst others. The platform supports in-app purchases, ad networks and other monetization models for effective growth.

Appcelerator :

Appcelerator is a mobile development platform which speeds up time to market with cross-platform development and testing and simplified access to date via optimised APIs. Real-time mobile analytics are available on the platform, helping to power user engagement and measure results. Appcelerator uses a single JavaScript code base for rich native mobile apps and cloud-connected mobile apps. Appcelerator Titanium is the open and extensible development environment for the platform, providing the development of native iOS, Android, BlackBerry, HTML5 and Hybrid apps.

Snecha :

Sencha Touch is a high-performance HTML5 mobile application framework, which provides a development environment for the Sencha HTML5 platform. It is the only framework that enables developers to build highly powerful apps compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Difference Between Native Mobile Apps & Hybrid Mobile Apps :

  1. In native mobile apps you cannot re-use code between platforms, But in Hybrid mobile apps the code base is re-usable between mobile platforms.

  2. Native mobile apps will always provide a better user experience; hybrid just doesn’t look or feel as smooth and natural.

  3. You need different knowledge for each target platform on native mobile apps, But the hybrid mobile apps is easy to develop, you won’t have a hard time finding an app developer.

  4. Native mobile apps can be easily discovered in the app stores, the hybrid mobile apps need distinct web view implementations per platform.

  5. A hybrid app is an attractive alternative to a native one, as there will be no worries about maintaining distinctive apps for various mobile platforms.

User Experience :

If you’ve ever used different browsers on different computers, you will know that a website can look completely different on each one. It’s the same with the mobile web. In contrast, creating a hybrid app means your customers get to experience the capabilities of their individual mobile device while using an app that’s basically standard.If the app needs to be updated, a single update will fix the app on all platforms, again improving the UX for customers. And if customers change from one mobile platform to another, they can still enjoy a consistent UX.

Why you should use hybrid app ?

Here are the top reason to choose hybrid app :

  • Reduced cost of development across multiple platform :
    When developed across multiple platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) the same HTML components can be used for different mobile OS. This significantly reduces development costs and effort.

  • Retaining full use of device features while making maintenance easier :

Unlike a pure web app, a hybrid app can fully utilize all the features available in the smart device. But while a purely native app can also use all of the features of the device, maintaining it is complicated for both users and developers. Updates have to be rolled out in the form of a new version, which requires users to upload. A hybrid App bypasses that, as maintaining the content is as simple as updating a webpage, and can be done when needed.

  • Combines the best of both worlds :

When connected to the web, the hybrid app offers its full variety of features and content, but when offline, it still retains much of its advanced offline capabilities. It has increased visibility because the app can be distributed via app stores or via search engines.

The best part is that there’s no low-level coding required. Developers can work in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. It’s generally a lot easier to find people with those skills than native app developers.

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