SWOT analysis: Hybrid versus native development in IBM Worklight

* The original version of this blog post is published in IBM Mobile Frontier

Let’s say you have to create a solution design for a client who asked you to transform its existing mobile application. You have plenty of requirements in hand, and the client has already purchased IBM Worklight. Now you have to consider which development model will be most advantageous for your client: hybrid or native?

IBM Worklight is designed to provide hybrid and native mobile application development in one platform. However, choosing the correct development model may not always be easy. You should keep in mind all of your specific requirements and critical parameters like project budget, performance, time-to-market speed, resources and so on.

I’ve been an IT architect for almost four years in IBM, and I spend a lot of my time helping clients develop the right applications for their organizations by creating the most efficient solution design. Creating solution design sometimes becomes challenging given the complexity of the client’s requirements and IT environment. Since SWOT is a competitive analysis methodology that looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a given product or solution, whenever I am confused on anything in my design, the first thing I do is to apply SWOT analysis. Believe me—it really helps when you get stuck in a project, and it can minimize your risk as well. If you aren’t sure which development model is best for your IBM Worklight project, you may need to apply my approach. I hope this blog post will help to lighten your way.

Before we deep dive into hybrid and native SWOT analysis, readers who are not familiar with IBM Worklight application types can download and review the “Native, web or hybrid mobile-app development” white paper. Furthermore, in official IBM Worklight technical white paper documentation, IBM uses the image below to highlight the application types that can be developed by Worklight:


Regardless of your development model—hybrid or native—you have to consider how you’ll integrate your code into Worklight. Here we go!

Hybrid development model on IBM Worklight

When I considered the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of hybrid development on IBM Worklight, here’s the list I came up with:


  • Ability to build once and deploy all
  • Reduced development and maintenance costs
  • Rapid time-to-market
  • Enhanced app governance and security
  • Development by people with the same expertise (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript)


  • May require native coding in device-related cases when Apache Cordova does not provide anything for regarding functions


  • Compatibility with changes in the mobile market regardless of mobile devices, platforms and operating systems


  • Possible delays for adaptation to operating system changes (there may be reasonable delays to receive a new version of IBM Worklight when there are big changes on specific mobile platforms, like the iOS 6 to iOS 7 upgrade)


Native development model on IBM Worklight

Here is the SWOT list for native development on Worklight:


  • Enhanced app governance and security (with IBM Worklight integration)
  • Better performance
  • Rapid adoptation to operation system changes
  • Full control on the device


  • Requires development for each operating system by teams with different expertise (Objective-C, Java, C# and so on)
  • Requires platform-specific testing
  • For now, has limited support on the Microsoft platform rather than iOS and Android


  • Enhanced native support in new versions of IBM Worklight


  • An ever-increasing number of devices to support
  • Difficulty predicting changes in the dynamic mobile market


I hope the SWOT models will help you make the right choice regarding hybrid versus mobile development in Worklight.

Connect with me on Twitter @serkanersanli to talk more about mobile solutions.



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