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In the first part of this series we learned about mobile web application strategies and techniques like Responsive Web Design. Now, let’s take a look at how hybrid applications fit as a solution for mobile development.

Creating a hybrid application is an approach that allows you too reuse your web development skills and deliver cross platform mobile applications. Hybrid applications use a browser bundled inside of a mobile application known as a WebView. Using a WebView enables mobile apps to be built using web technologies like HTML, JavaScript and CSS while packaging it as a native app and deploying to the app store. Hybrid apps can access most device features through plugins/abstractions built upon native APIs. Push notifications are also supported by hybrid applications, unlike responsive web apps.

PhoneGap/Apache Cordova

Cordova icon

PhoneGap, a distribution of Apache Cordova, is an open source framework for quickly building cross-platform mobile apps using HTML5, Javascript and CSS. Wrapping your app with PhoneGap will enable deployment to mobile platforms. PhoneGap uses a single codebase of HTML, JavaScript and CSS for all platforms. Unlike RWD, hybrid apps built with PhoneGap allow JavaScript access to a variety of platform APIs giving your app the ability to use the phones camera and sensors.

Telerik AppBuilder

Telerik Platform simplifies mobile development including hybrid apps using Telerik AppBuilder. AppBuilder is a cross-platform development environment that utilizes PhoneGap/Apache Cordova. Telerik Platform includes end-to-end tooling that encompasses prototyping, connecting to data, development, testing, deployment, management and analytics. In addition to tooling, developers can use their favorite IDE with plugins for Visual Studio and Sublime Text, and a Command Line Interface (CLI) that works alongside any IDE.


Building and deploying your app with the Telerik Platform is also simplified. Using a single code base, your app can be compiled and deployed to your own private app store or public app stores, including the Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone. Without the Telerik Platform, additional SDKs and hardware are necessary to deploy to all app stores. In addition, the app can be built for the AppBuilder Companion App, a tool for iterative development and testing.

Hybrid Considerations

mobile apps

Developers familiar with HTML, CSS and JavaScript will have a short learning curve. Hybrid apps deliver a fair amount of skill reuse, however some native API knowledge may be necessary to fully utilize a device’s features. While WebViews are convenient for bridging the divide between mobile, they can come at some performance cost.

It’s important to remember that hybrid apps must follow app store review guidelines in order to be successfully added to an app store. Each major app store has it’s own policies and guidelines that should be read and understood before submitting.

Hybrid Fast Track

The following resources can help your team get up to speed:


  • Hybrid apps promote skill reuse by using web technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Webviews are used to wrap web applications and provide the app with native like abilities
  • Apache Cordova is a hybrid app framework for building cross platform apps
  • Telerik Platform simplifies mobile development with App Builder for end-to-end tooling including compilation and deployment
  • Without the Telerik Platform additional SDKs and hardware are necessary to deploy to all app stores
  • Some native API knowledge may be necessary to fully utilize a device’s features
  • Understand app store policies and guidelines before submitting to app stores

In This Series

This was the second part of series of blog posts on how to Fast track your mobile development project. In the next post we’ll explore the fast track to native application development. If you would like to review, you can jump back to the first part of this series where we learned about mobile web application strategies and techniques like Responsive Web Design.

About the Author

Ed Charbeneau

Ed Charbeneau is a web enthusiast, speaker, writer, design admirer, and Developer Advocate for Telerik. He has designed and developed web based applications for business, manufacturing, systems integration as well as customer facing websites. Ed enjoys geeking out to cool new tech, brainstorming about future technology, and admiring great design. Ed's latest projects can be found on GitHub.

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