Hybrid Mobile Development

David Heinemeier Hansson on the hybrid approach Basecamp use to develop their mobile apps. Rather than going all native or all Web, they use a thin native shell around Web powered content. Some notable advantages of this method:

This also makes the rollout of new features endlessly easier. Imagine if we had to change a Rails desktop app, a Rails API app, a client-side MVC app, a mobile web wrapper app, an Android app, and an iPhone app whenever we wanted to improve or introduce new functionality! That’s simply not a workload that’s realistic for a team of 10 programmers and 7 designers.

Besides the much-reduced workload, it also means we’re able to fix problems much faster. When the majority of the functionality lives in the HTML served from the server, we don’t have to wait for Apple’s multi-day approval cycle to fix things.