Access Android/iOS with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS — Visual Studio Magazine

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Hybrid Web Frameworks Q&A with Allen Conway: Access Android/iOS with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS

Learn how offerings like Ionic, Cordova, and others offer an alternative to direct web development, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), native development, and other cross-platform development frameworks like Xamarin (now .NET MAUI) , Flutter, React Native, etc. .

Hybrid web frameworks offer a popular approach to cross-platform app development as coders can target iOS and Android mobile platforms with a codebase consisting of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

As such, offerings like Ionic, Cordova, and others provide an alternative to direct web development, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), native development, and other cross-platform development frameworks like Xamarin (now .NET MAUI ), Flutter, React Native and so on. on.

And, as always with these alternative development approaches, the choice comes with a series of trade-offs, with each option having its own pros and cons. As evidenced by the 2017 App Development Trends article, “Hybrid apps beat native in new survey“, the benefits of the hybrid approach have been recognized for years, but continue to gain traction with new offerings and features.

Native vs Hybrid vs Web Comparison
[Click on image for larger view.] Native vs Hybrid vs Web Comparison (source: Upwork).

One reason is that by working with a single codebase of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, developers can target both mobile operating systems while reducing development time and going beyond browser-only web applications with familiar web technology.

We met a hybrid development expert Allen Conway for his opinion on the hybrid approach before his next presentation on November 15, “Quick Focus: Hybrid Web Frameworks“, to the immense Live!360 technical conference to be held in Orlando from November 13 to 18.

During the session, Conway will discuss some of the traditional frameworks like Ionic to see how they can be leveraged to build hybrid web applications, while briefly looking at the differences between “hybrid web frameworks” and “mobile native frameworks” and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Here’s what Conway, Web Client Practice Leader at Cognizant Softvision, had to say in a short Q&A session.

Visual Studio Magazine: How using a single JavaScript/HTML/CSS codebase to target both Android and iOS helps teams reduce development time and move beyond web-only applications based on a Navigator ?
Conway: Hybrid web frameworks inherently allow a write-once leveraging the web stack, deploy anywhere scenario with a target of native platforms and devices. This allows teams with existing web skills to reuse their basic knowledge to build mobile apps and reduce the time it takes to target Android, iOS and the web without having to manage multiple separate languages ​​and code bases.

What are the trade-offs involved?
The main trade-off between hybrid web development and truly native development is that you’re working on an abstraction like Capacitor or Cordova. These abstractions give us the ability to “black box” native programming, but at the cost of not having the ultimate in access and capabilities per platform.

Can you briefly explain the differences between “Hybrid Web Frameworks” and “Native Mobile Frameworks” and the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Hybrid web frameworks work through an abstraction such as Capacitor or Cordova for device access and work using a WebView, but allow working almost exclusively with web technologies.

“Hybrid web frameworks work through an abstraction such as Capacitor or Cordova for device access and work using a WebView, but allow working almost exclusively with web technologies.”

Allen Conway, Principal Web Client Practice Consultant for Cognizant Softvision

Native mobile frameworks target native controls and APIs through JavaScript to build truly native apps, but require more coding and knowledge per platform than exclusively using web technologies.

How good are traditional frameworks like Ionic for building hybrid web apps?
Ionic and Capacitor are proven and enduring frameworks adopted by the engineering community to meet the needs of businesses in the web and mobile application development space that can handle a variety of software implementation scenarios.

What are the advantages of VS Code over Visual Studio in building a hybrid web application?
Extensions offered in VS Code for Ionic and Capacitor development streamline running, building, debugging, configuring, and building apps. With a suite of built-in features, the Ionic extension enables productive development of hybrid web applications.

In a 20-minute “Fast Focus” presentation, what will key attendees learn?
The main takeaway from the quick tune is to identify exactly what hybrid web frameworks are, what development background is best suited to take advantage of these frameworks, and a quick overview of how they work.

About the Author


David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.



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