Steve Jobs gave a speech at a conference in Aspen in 1983 where he predicted the evolution of a new digital distribution system which would be like a record store where software can be downloaded over phone lines. In 1997, Nokia included a built-in version of the basic arcade game “Snake,” which many consider as the first mobile app. And since then mobile apps and app development has come a long way.
According to Statista, in 2019, 21.3 billion apps were downloaded from Google Play. By 2023, apps are projected to generate more than $9935 billion through paid downloads and in-app advertising.
With the evolution of mobile apps, mobile app development also evolved from building native apps for each mobile OD to hybrid apps that can work across platforms. And with time, hybrid app development has also significantly transformed. Hybrid apps are no longer the sluggish apps only bringing time to market and cost advantage but are matured to perform at par with native apps. However, there are still a few things which needs to be considered while building a hybrid app. The stability and performance of hybrid apps largely depend on the best practices deployed while building the app.
- Focus on Usability: While everything else is good, the success of your hybrid app largely depends on its usability or the ease with which a user performs a task or achieves a goal on the app. There are several factors that determine the usability of the hybrid app including visibility of the system status, information in common language instead of technical jargon, user control, error prevention etc. Focus on app usability ensures happy users, the most important factor for the success of your hybrid app.
- Choose the right tool: Over the years, many new tools for hybrid app development has emerged including Xamarin, React Native, Cordova/Phonegap, Unity, Appcelerator etc. The key difference between these app development tools is the language used, complexity level, and the number of external libraries that can be used. Each tool has its own pros and cons and should be chosen based on the app needs and your team’s competency levels.
- Choose Best Design Patterns: Design patterns are important in mobile app development. It is important to choose design patterns for the app that facilitates easier testing and provides more flexibility along with reusability. A carefully chosen design pattern can save the app developer from many issues in development and maintenance.
- Leverage CI/CD: CI/CD (Continuous Integration, Delivery and Continuous Deployment) is an excellent hybrid app development best practice to build mobile apps faster and at a lesser cost. It involves building & testing the code changes in an app continuously and then merging it to a shared repository. This helps in identifying code errors at an early stage. If the code passes the test, then the changes are automatically implemented. If the code fails, then the developers can fix it and retest it.
- Clean Code Architecture: Clean Code Architecture is another best practice in app development to manage the app when it grows bigger. A good code architecture helps in several ways including reducing the app development time, easier understanding, and low maintenance, etc. The app development team must follow the software design philosophy of maintaining clean code architecture by separating the elements of a design into ring levels.
- Prioritize App Security: App security is a serious concern among users. More so in the data-driven world where app try to collect a lot of user’s data to optimize the user experience. While server-side security will be the same for native and hybrid apps, there is a difference between the two when it comes to client-side security. For hybrid apps, developers need to apply an extra layer of security on to the mobile application. Developers must take measures like regularly updating framework and plugin versions, cross-site scripting, input encoding, URL whitelisting and code obfuscation etc., to secure the apps.
Hybrid apps bring a lot of benefits to app developers. Following the hybrid app best practices discussed above will help you build apps better and faster. At Gemini Consulting & Services, our hybrid app development experts can help you build apps to address your most-pressing business problems. We have a best-practice driven app development process that helps us build hybrid apps that delivers high performance, usability and user satisfaction.