HTML5 is growing in importance and will continue to be a dominant platform for many use cases
for the foreseeable future. Enterprise architects need to consider weaving HTML5 capabilities into
their application development tool chain, especially for browser based applications running within
the enterprise and consumer facing applications accessed from a PC browser. Superseding Flash and
Silverlight, HTML5 and
CSS3 is now the de facto standard for providing rich multimedia functionality on desktop based
It is also important to put the use of HTML5
for developing mobile applications into the appropriate context. HTML5 commonly refers to
applications delivered via a browser, while native can refer to apps written in platform
specific programming languages as well as hybrid apps composed of HTML5 coupled with
client-specific libraries, as Al Hilwa, program director at IDC, explained. Hilwa recently
published a report on The Evolving
State of HTML5.
Some of these have not yet matured fully but have a lot of
promise for improving communication between the web browser and the server.
Tyler Wassell, Software Development Manager
Tradeoffs abound for HTML5
Some enterprises, such as The Financial Times, actually see
great benefit from leveraging a focus on HTML5 as a way of avoiding the tolls associated with app
stores. Meanwhile other enterprises like Facebook and LinkedIn have been very vocal about shifting
away from HTML5 development in order to provide more performant applications with the rich
functionality that is only possible via native development approaches.
Hilwa noted that HTML5 applications face challenges from inadequate developer tooling, developer
skill immaturity, security, and weak browser implementations. But at the same time it provides many
potential benefits such as allowing cross-platform deployment from a single code base, vendor
support, and ecosystem traction including a diverse range of point
tools, frameworks, and solutions.
Hilwa expects to see HTML5 making its biggest mark in specific categories such as internal
employee applications that access enterprise resources. HTML5 is being used heavily
on desktops today and mobile HTML5 is getting traction for casual games. In mobile
applications, Hilwa expects to see
the greatest use in hybrid approaches in which the same basic HTML5 code can be reused and
combined with native libraries across platforms for better performance.
The HTML5 platform itself faces many challenges, ranging from the lack of full standardization
across browser implementations, immature developer tooling, performance impacts and feature support
on native devices. Furthermore, the rich set of features required by modern apps delivered through
of which face their own developer tooling, implementation, and security issues.
On mobile platforms, many developers expect HTML5 functionality to be woven together with
components for accessing native device functionality using hybrid apps that blend HTML5 and native
code libraries, such as Apache PhoneGap, a project that was contributed to the Apache Foundation by
Gartner expects that by 2016, more than 50%
of mobile applications will be hybrid. Gartner recommends that organizations evaluate
development frameworks that allow them to develop native, hybrid, and web applications using
the same code base. The enterprise should also consider consolidating development activities
via cross platform frameworks, said Van Baker, Research Vice President at Gartner.This trend is
reflected in developer job postings analyzed by indeed.com, a job listing service that has found that
HTML5 experience is the fastest growing and most dominant keyword found in online job postings. It
currently ranks as the number-1 keyword ahead of iOS (number-3) and Android (number-4).
However, when looking at mobile, pure HTML5 development is facing significant competition from
competing approaches, including hybrid and native development, reports mobile development tool
based on its latest survey of mobile application developers.
Michael King, Director of Enterprise Strategy at Appcelerator told SearchSOA, “We see lukewarm
interest in HTML5 in general for mobile. If you are building a more mass market application or
looking at something internal for users to accomplish mobilification of business processes, the
reaction towards HTML5 has been poor. Mobile HTML5 developers run up against three key challenges
around performance, security, and access to device sensors. With offline access, the HTML5
applications can only work with what has been cached in the browsers which presents limitations on
what can be secured, and “you cannot cache application logic in most cases,” said King.
Also there is limited access to native sensors and APIs that are not available with HTML5. The
iPhone 5 has 6-sensors and the recent iOS comes with about 1500 APIs that are difficult to leverage
with pure HTML5 applications. “What is the point of building an application if I cannot have a
mapping application to route employees, or it doesn’t have a performant application for insurance
quoting,” said King.
When reach is more important to performance
At the same time, King sees specific application categories where people are whole
heartedly embracing HTML5. He is seeing growth in content consumption and form based
applications for customer acquisition. But interactive applications, games, and mapping
applications that require heavy device requirements are steering clear of HTML5. King explained,
“When we talk to our developers, they love the idea and promise of HTML5 for being able to write
applications for responsive Web applications that will work on the largest tablet to the smallest
With forms based and simple customer acquisition applications some of the disadvantages of HTML5
are not noticeable. Forms don’t need access to a lot of sensors and performance is not as big an
issue. Customer acquisition apps don’t need to go through the appstore, a lot of times they can be
accessed from a link sent via email.
While King does seem some opportunities for leveraging
HTML5 code across desktop and hybrid mobile apps, it is important to keep in mind the different
use cases of these platforms. “The idea that I need an application that works on both desktop and
smartphone does not take into account how people use these things. I would recommend building
separate apps for desktop and mobile that respects the different workflows on those platforms.”
New specifications extend the reach of HTML5
In contrast, other developers believe HTML5 is beginning to take a lead role in mobile
application development. Tyler Wassell, Software Development Manager at mrc, a web application development software company,
sees a growing
communication, web data storage, and file management capabilities to the browser and more
importantly the mobile browser. Because of this I think we are seeing more and more mobile web
applications replacing native mobile applications.”
web which can allow developers to take advantage of HTML5 capabilities. There is a lot of buzz
MongoDB, Node.js as an application server, as well as an ever growing number of client-side
grow and be dominant on the Web.”
In addition improvements to core HTML5 capabilities and developer tooling are making HTML5 more
useful for a growing range of applications. For example, Wassell has been seeing a demand for
data-driven applications that will continue to work when an Internet connection is not available.
To do this developers are turning to HTML5 application cache to store the applications
resources. “Without HTML5 we couldn’t do this,” he said.
Other powerful HTML5 features like Web Sockets, Server Sent Events, and Web Messaging are also
of much interest. Wassell said, “Some of these have not yet matured fully but have a lot of promise
for improving communication between the web browser and the server which will bring about a more
native mobile application experience like push notifications.”
In the long run, IDC’s Hilwa expects to see HTML5 and native mobile applications to coexist with
neither replacing the other. Be native application platforms will remain the primary way that
mobile applications will be delivered.
How are you leveraging HTML5 in your mobile applications? Let us know.
18 Aug 2014
Article source: http://www.theserverside.com/feature/HTML5-Still-Relevant-but-Faces-Challenges-in-Mobility