I'd like to understand the reason (pros and cons) why Stack Exchange went with a native mobile app and not a hybrid app (using WebView and some native features).

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I just would love to read about the decision process and arguments for and against. For me intuitively a hybrid app would have made more sense for a site like this.

  • 2
    Android app uses WebView to display questions and answers (the body of the post). Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 13:57
  • Interesting, I didn't read about that in the original announcement. My question still stands - why not all the UI is done with WebView then?
    – gphilip
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 14:03
  • Thanks! I agree phonegap is a mess to develop with. By hybrid I mean something else though. A WebView without hokum and maybe some lightweight JS to Java API exposed for native stuff like notifications, the rest is purely web
    – gphilip
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 16:39
  • 6
    Personally... I much prefer native apps to hybrid ones on Android. Generally, they tend to look nicer and work better. Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


As stated in the comments, our apps are somewhat hybrid, just not to the extent most people mean when they use that term. The app uses customized WebViews for displaying the actual contents of a question or answer.

We decided to make native applications because we wanted to make fast applications that took full advantage of the features the OS gave them. I've never seen a hybrid application that you couldn't quickly tell didn't "feel right", so it wasn't a very hard decision to make. Because we have native applications, we're in charge of every aspect of them without having to fight with some sort of middleman. We're also able to make our applications look exactly what we want them to look like, without having to write many different versions of CSS.

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