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The pros and cons of hybrid or cross-platform app development

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Published:December 22, 2022
Last Modified:December 22, 2022

Building a new mobile app can be a daunting task. There is so much to take into account from market research to branding and design to your go-to-market strategy. Depending on your background, choosing your development roadmap could be the most overwhelming of them all.

Should you build native and focus on iOS or Android first? Or should you go all-in and develop them simultaneously?

Or, have you considered a hybrid, or cross-platform framework?

What is a hybrid, or cross-platform application framework?

A hybrid or cross-platform application framework is a software platform that allows developers to build applications that can be deployed on multiple operating systems or device platforms using a single codebase. These frameworks typically use web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, to build the app, and then wrap it in a native container that allows it to be installed and run on a device like a native app.

Some examples of traditional hybrid frameworks includes Cordova (formely PhoneGap), which allows developers to build cross-platform mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with Xamarin which allows developers to build native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and other platforms using C# and the .NET framework. A newer framework, Flutter, was built by Google and takes a unique approach to cross platform development by running its own UI engine and not relying on native components.

With a hybrid framework you can build your app once and have it work on multiple platforms, rather than building separate versions for each. 

Pros of hybrid app development

There are several benefits to using a cross-platform application framework for your startup:

  1. Reduced development costs: Building separate apps for each operating system can be time-consuming and costly. By building a cross-platform app, you only have to develop and maintain one codebase, which can save you money in the long run.
  2. Speed of iterations: Developing a cross-platform app allows you to build apps for two or more operating systems. When growing your product, you only have to maintain one codebase and can build new features once instead of two or more times. This can give you a competitive advantage, as you can incorporate early customer feedback faster.
  3. Greater reach: With a cross-platform app, you can reach a wider audience faster. Instead of first releasing and iOS, followed by Android, and Windows; you can release everywhere at once.

Cons of hybrid app development

There are several potential drawbacks to consider with hybrid app development:

  1. Limited performance: Hybrid apps may not perform as well as native apps, as they rely on web technologies and add an additional layer over the native experience.
  2. Limited capabilities: Some features and capabilities may not be available or may not work as well on certain platforms when using a cross-platform framework.
  3. Dependency on the framework: Building an app with a cross-platform framework means that you are dependent on the framework for updates and support. Generally native features and updates are available later with a framework than when you build a true native app.

One caveat to these generalizations is the Flutter framework.

What is Flutter and how is it different?

Flutter is a popular cross-platform framework developed by Google. Flutter allows you to build beautiful, high-performance apps for iOS and Android using a single codebase. Flutter comes with a rich set of customizable widgets and tools, making it easy to create a visually appealing app.

One of the main differences between Flutter and traditional cross-platform frameworks is that Flutter uses a unique rendering engine to build the user interface (UI) for apps. Traditional cross-platform frameworks, on the other hand, rely on native components which can result in a less consistent look and feel across platforms.

Another difference is that Flutter uses the Dart programming language, which is a compiled, object-oriented language with a C-style syntax. Many traditional cross-platform frameworks, such as Cordova and PhoneGap, use web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which are typically interpreted rather than compiled.

Overall, Flutter offers a more efficient and streamlined way to build cross-platform apps, with a focus on performance, customizability, and ease of use. It is especially well-suited for building high-quality, visually-rich apps, and has gained a lot of popularity among developers in recent years.


Overall, hybrid app development can be a cost-effective and efficient option for certain types of apps. However, it's important to carefully consider the pros and cons and whether it is the right choice for your specific project and goals.

At Tragic we guide founders through the process of outlining their goals and planned roadmap to determine if native or cross-platform app development is the right path for them.

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