Building Hybrid Mobile Applications

December 4, 2016 | AngularJS, Ruby, Web Development

I recently just learned about building hybrid mobile applications. These apps are regular, mobile optimized websites written in HTML, CSS, and JS (and powered by other languages such as Ruby) that run in a device’s Webview.

A Webview can be considered a browser window that’s configured to run full screen but also permit application access device functions such as the camera, contacts, and more. Additionally, hybrid mobile apps can include native UI elements, thus allowing them to emulate native iOS or Android apps even more.

The main and most obvious advantage of building a hybrid mobile application is that you only need to write a single application and maintain a single codebase, which in most cases runs unmodified on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. Most frameworks are powered by Cordova or PhoneGap, which give you a bridge to the device APIs in JavaScript.

As I also discovered, there are a number of frameworks available for making hybrid mobile app development a breeze. Ionic is one of the most popular frameworks available for building hybrid mobile apps. It’s built on top of Apache Cordova, has great community support and is relatively easy to get started with. However, it’s built to work with AngularJS, so you’ll need a solid understanding of Angular if you want to make any complex apps. As always, do your research and pick the framework that will best help achieve your project’s goals.

Below is a great tutorial to help you get started with the Ionic framework and get a solid introduction to hybrid mobile app development. You can also check out my repo of the basic app here. In a subsequent post I might dive further into a step by step process of starting from scratch to publishing a hybrid mobile app in the Google Play store.

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