By Globant Mobile Studio In the past years Hybrid Applications gained traction in the market since with a simplistic approach of building web application that can be compiled and contained within the smartphone even without connectivity allowed users and developers to achieve simple application development in short time. Hybrid application are all the tools and frameworks that allow developers to package and store locally web based applications (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript) with limited access to native smartphone platforms functionality such as camera, GPS, accelerators and certain functionalities. With the upcoming release of iOS 8, and the changes on the core components of the operating system of Apple, our Mobile R&D team has been working testing and adapting Hybrid applications in all the Beta releases of iOS 8 with a wide range of results, and we are now sending communication to our customer base that is using this kind of technology to check, adapt and test they app base to support the new environment.


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Current scenario Most hybrid platforms are currently working on releasing an iOS 8 compatible version.  Some of them have updated their releases to integrate compatibility as soon as iOS beta 2 was ready to be used (Xamarin, Appcelearator), others are still working on addressing some compatibility issues (Phonegap, Cordova, Ionic). A high level overview of the most popular hybrid solutions and its current state regarding the upcoming iOS8 release: Cordova and Phonegap: The Phonegap architecture is based on a native WebView that runs html5/js code and a bridge that is established with native components, all packaged as a native build.  To the user the application is installed as native but internally it runs a web application with access to advanced native functionalities.

Currently, the major issues impacting Cordova and Phonegap based applications are related to the fact that the native WebView implementation has changed (now it is WKWebView) and there are several api’s that are not working properly (window.navigator references, plugin system, etc). This is the official Cordova backlog for the Cordova iOS 8 support:

We tested most of our Cordova built applications against the latest iOS 8 Beta releases.  Most of them are working but some a few workarounds.  We are expecting an official Cordova release with iOS 8 support so we can rebuild our applications and release a 100% compatible release.

Our recommendation is put on hold the submission of the application compiled against the latest iOS 8 and continue building using Xcode 5.1.1 with SDK 7.1. This will allow application to continue working as expected on both iOS 7 and iOS 8.

Xamarin and Appcelerator: Xamarin and Appcelerator relies on a different architecture than Cordova and Phonegap.  Xamarin allows a part of the application to be written in C# (business logic, local database, etc), but requires that everything that is related to the view is written in native code targeting each specific platform.  Appcelerator is developed using JavaScript and target its widget library that internally are built to native components.  The end result is a 100% native application but there could be potential issues related with memory management and performance (this applies to Xamarin as well). Both Xamarin and Appcelerator had released iOS 8 Beta compatible versions so the users can begin testing the frameworks and submit issues to their bug tracking systems.  Both enabled advanced support for the iOS new features but are currently working on testing compatibility.  There is no 100% compatible release yet. Related Links:

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