Comparison of Hybrid Mobile Frameworks

Hybrid Development Options

When developing a new mobile application app development companies in Australia will generally ask the question, would you like to go with a native or hybrid approach? For a non-technical audience this question can be hard to answer. Today we will attempt to answer that whilst also discussing some of the hybrid framework choices that are dominant in the Australian mobile app development market today. In answer to the question should I go native or not the general rule of thumb is that some better performance can be obtained via native code, however that again depends on the skill of the app developer in many cases. It is also true that a graphics heavy mobile app with high tech graphics manipulation employed will often work better on a native code base, as will apps that directly interface with niche hardware components that are embedded into the phone.

The drawbacks of developing natively are a bit more clear-cut. Native mobile apps need to be developed at least twice, once for Android and once for Apple iOS. If we extend that to include Windows phone (unlikely a requirement in 2018) then that equates to 3 apps. A hybrid mobile app is built once, and the wrapper provided by the selected framework handles the interoperability between hardware devices.

So, assuming you have made the choice to go hybrid what are the best frameworks to use? Writing as of November 2018 the key contenders in the hybrid space are: React Native, Ionic, NativeScript & Xamarin (a relative newcomer).

React Native uses Javascript and React.js and is a very popular hybrid choice. It allows developers to create powerful dynamic applications as it supports embedding of native modules developed in Apple, Android native code bases. Ionic relies on web technologies, using HTML, CSS & Javavscript to run applications. Ionic includes the Cordova wrapper, which allows it to make native calls to the OS. NativeScript is another Javascript based framework but uses its own layer to access the phone OS as oppose to the Cordova framework used by Ionic. Xamarin uses C# the Microsoft .NET core development framework thus allowing mobile developers from a traditional Microsoft background to build Mobile apps easily.

Each of the frameworks listed here have their merits but our pick of them would be ReactNative or Xamarin. ReactNative is powerful and supports high performance dynamic mobile apps, suited to an organization that is strong on Javascript expertise. Xamarin is a great fit for organisations that have a strong Microsoft .NET engineering function such as Red Sky Digital. Utilising Xamarin for our hybrid applications allows us to maintain a strong skillset and offer strength in depth for our clients.

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