Hybrid App Development: How do I get Started?

First Published: 12 April 2016
Updated on: 9 June 2019

Want to get started with Hybrid App Development but not sure what you need to know first?

Don’t worry, I’ll cover here what the skills you need to get up and running with hybrid app development if you follow this path, you’ll be building your apps within a month (maybe less if you can put it more time).

Get Started with Hybrid App Development

If you want to get started with hybrid app development, first you’ll need to understand what this is:

Taken from Salesforce developer’s page:

“Hybrid App Development combines the best of both the native and HTML5 worlds. We define hybrid as a web app, primarily built using HTML5 and JavaScript, that is then wrapped inside a thin native container that provides access to native platform features”.

In plain English, what that means is that you build your app using HTML, CSS and JAVASCRIPT and then use a tool like Cordova to wrap it into a native container, so it can access things like the camera and can publish to Google Play.

I’m not going to convince you to become a hybrid developer in this post, but if you do want to be one, I got the right tools for you to begin with :)

Now that you have a better understanding of what Hybrid App Development is (if you don’t, ask me anything in the comments :P ) let’s cover what you need to know to start building Hybrid Apps.

The framework I use is called Ionic Framework, they describe themselves as “The beautiful, open source, front-end SDK for developing hybrid mobile apps with web technologies.” and they are right, it’s made my life so simple.

To be able to start developing apps with Ionic Framework you’ll need to know (Preferably in this order):

HTML and CSS

HTML and CSS are the languages you can use to build and style websites. Every single web page you see is using them.

If you are looking to learn them, you can use Code Academy and also CSS TRICKS.

HTML won’t take you too long, you might have trouble at the beginning, but soon your brain will realize how it works and you’ll be able to move on.

CSS on the other hand is a bit different, try to understand box models and specificity, that will give you a great head start.

JAVASCRIPT

JavaScript is the programming language of the Web. Programming makes computers do what you want them to do.

I came from a different background, my JS skills where close to none, what really made a difference for me was Wes Bos’ course ES6 for Everyone, it’s all in video and teaches you a lot about the new version of JS that’s ES6/ES2015, it paid itself the same day I bought it.

Code Academy also has a free path you can check out here.

ANGULAR

Angular lets you extend HTML vocabulary for your application. The resulting environment is extraordinarily expressive, readable, and quick to develop.

There is one reason we are learning Angular, it’s because Ionic uses angular under the hood to work its magic, some people say you really need to learn a lot of angular to be able to use Ionic, but I think that’s not true, I haven’t worked with Angular, all my work has been Ionic related, I do believe you need the basics of Angular, so you’ll know where things come from.

To get started with Angular, I used the Ultimate Angular bundle, it’s one of the best resources out there, and it was created by an Angular GDE.

IONIC FRAMEWORK

Ionic has to be my favorite framework of all times, it was like love at first sight, I started with it, and it felt intuitive, I’ve been able to develop about 5 or 6 private apps for internal use for a few clients, and I’ve gotten 4 of my apps to Google Play.

If you want to get started with Ionic you can follow their docs or you can read tutorials here on my blog.

Also, there are other bloggers I admire and that blog about several topics including Ionic:

  • Josh from JoshMorony. He’s a tutorial making machine, who by the way wrote the standard for learning Ionic, his book is by far the best Ionic book out there.

  • Simon from Devdactic. He likes to write about a lot of different use cases for Ionic apps. He also created the Ionic Academy.

I know there are more, but these 2 are the ones I read the most, I find their content helpful and easy to follow :-)

BONUS

There is a bonus technology I wanted to talk to you about, it’s called FIREBASE, they are a powerful platform for your mobile or web application.

They’ll give you a database, handle user authentication for you, give you hosting and everything under SSL so your site/app will always be https by default!

Your next step if you want to get started with Ionic + Firebase is to go through my FREE course: [Build your first Firebase powered Ionic app]().