The hybris customer and partner days are over, what an event! We had great discussions about mobile in general, native apps, web apps and hybrid apps. As you may know, we’ve decided to go native for both our Android and iOS SDKs that will launch with hybris 5. This post is a little discussion around the fancy topic: native vs. hybrid. I know this is controversial. At some point we had to make a decision and I think the one we made, going native, makes a lot of sense.
OK, here are a few points to consider:
- While our UI templates are basic (but good looking, really), they are meant to be a starting point for your own UI. They include the UI for a complete commerce flow. From customer registration to final checkout. You don’t want a stock UI, we understand, so we made the UI easily skinnable. Both iOS and Android SDKs are designed that way. Typical Android and iOS developers can easily skin these. You get two native UI templates, that *really* looks and feel like a native app… because they are native. Customers spot tiny issues, e.g. a wrong scroll speed or not native-like button behaviours (or dialogs, etc.) and this *does* make a difference.
- If you radically want to change the UI we provide as template, feel free to drop that UI component. You can still use the SDK, which maps to our commerce OCC API 100%. Including OAuth2, Access Token handling, etc.
- We believe a good shopping app is more than an app whose only feature is trying to sell you stuff. That means you need to integrate features, that make sense for your specific context. Think of location alerts, reminders, interacting with QR codes or sharing products or content. This is where native shines, as you have full control and access. Sure, a few hybrid frameworks give you access to the device capabilities, too, but often it is limited and in the end also pretty complicated to figure it out.
- The Google’s and Apple’s out there have no interest in making hybrid frameworks work and perform well. They try to lock in the developers. That is a bad thing, but it will not change. Want to continuously fight against the big guys?
Finally, there is one thing I just don’t want to be taken the wrong way. Being against hybrid apps, does not mean that HTML5 did fail. HTML5 is an awesome technology, we use it in the hybris administration console for example and also in the mobile web template. But HTML5 needs to live in a browser. And with that, I mean a browser that the user “knows is a browser”. If the user expects a browser behaviour, HTML5 is all fine and a beautiful technology. We use it, we love it. We just don’t believe that HTML(5, whatever) should be natively wrapped and be indistinguishable on first sight from a native app. That’s because the browser component in a native app will finally disappoint users, who expect a native experience.
I know this is hot, but you have to choose your side at some point. Which side did you choose?