Hybrid is an app development approach where only a bare minimum shell of the app is developed using native programming language and most of the app logic is implemented using web technologies (HTML5, CSS3, and various Java Script libraries). Basically, the native shell provides an embedded web browser or container to load the HTML-based app UI. Hybrid approach is becoming a popular and faster way to reach mobile users across various platforms as most of the app code can be shared across platforms. Although the user experience of hybrid apps is not as intuitive as native, this approach is the only economically sensible option for existing web development organizations to reach the mobile users without significant investment on different mobile platforms.
The most widely used framework for hybrid app development is PhoneGAP which provides the native shell for most of the mobile platforms available now. The key component of the PhoneGAP framework is the Apache Cordova interface – a java script library for accessing various device features: location, local storage etc. PhoneGAP provides a uniform Cordova java script interface for all supported platforms; therefore, HTML based apps can use the same code for all platforms. Following figure shows how the code of a hybrid app is shared across two different platforms.