As iOS 11 launches on iPhones and iPads across the world, with more features and rich user experience capabilities for users than ever, many of us with designs on App Store success might be forgiven for getting excited about the potential that their interactive idea has in the hands of the billions of handset users across the world.

Similarly, companies and organisations with a genuine business case for developing apps for their customers – to drive up sales or provide a useful service, while improving their overall brand experience – may be tempted more than ever to ring-fence that budget and set the wheels in motion on such projects.

However, unlike the often competitive costs associated with launching other digital products, apps are usually expensive. Very expensive.

And, unlike websites with admin friendly content management systems, built for instantaneous and seamless updating and management, making changes to your app costs even more – each and every time.

The problem(s) with native

The problems with native are down to a number of critical factors. Chiefly, it’s sheer development time. Traditionally, apps are built natively. That means the same app, available on iOS and Android, is actually made twice over. Native apps are coded using the language native to the device / operating system. That’s Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android, usually.

Is hybrid app development the future?Then there’s the problem of the people behind the scenes – specifically the day rate of app developers vs the prices of web developers. They’re usually way more expensive – and there are less of them to boot.

If that’s not scaring the board off, the complicated issue of keeping apps working with the operating systems is another risk concern. iOS 11 has ditched support for legacy 32bit apps which means they no longer work on the shiny new OS which – let’s face it – everybody upgrades to, almost as soon as it’s released.

So, we have a problem where budding entrepreneurs with big ideas, and businesses desperate to bridge a gap to their customers with great app ideas, are left standing in the starting blocks, scratching aching heads, contemplating the problems and costs associated with native app development.

However, there is good news. There is a sea change happening right now, and it’s got the backing even of Google. Native app development is not going away, but it has a genuine competitor – hybrid app development.

Is hybrid app development the answer?

If you’re familiar with how a website is put together, you’re already half way to understanding the basics of hybrid.

Instead of being developed in machine language for the operating system – as in the case of native – hybrid strips away days, weeks, maybe even months of development time by empowering the developer with the ability to create high functioning apps with HTML5, CSS and Javascript.

Hybrid app development

Hybrid works by containerising the app when ready to launch, adding the native shell around the web application – which speeds up development time exponentially. Third party tools such as Apache Cordova, and Ionic, have opened up the app development market to web developers who can now compete with dedicated app developers, driving down costs and development time.

And, while native will always be the first choice for big budget projects – because of its security, native access to device APIs and inherent advantages in accessing device functionality, such as the camera, GPS, microphone et al – hybrid can still leverage the same tools.

Considering the price and speed to market differential of a hybrid app development versus native, for most entrepreneurs and businesses that won’t be a barrier to moving ahead, where previously they were hamstrung by cost and risk.

There’s never been a better time to launch your app project, thanks to the flexibility and reduced cost of hybrid development.

Find out more

To find out more about how Fred can help you to develop your app, get in touch with us today!