Feature Article

November 07, 2012

HTML5 is the Best Mobile Strategy Period - Now Deal with it

Looking at the news this week I have been stunned by how many myths have been shattered. I was reading Christian Heilmann’s article about the way people keep comparing HTML5 and native apps and how they are missing the point.

As a curator of the knowledge more than a guru, I apologize for any of my embellishments but let me start with Chris’ list of what HTML5 can do that native apps can’t.

  • Write once, deploy anywhere 
  • Share over the Web 
  • Built on agreed, multi-vendor standards 
  • Millions of developers 
  • Consumption and development tools are the same thing
  • Small, atomic updates 
  • Simple functionality upgrade 
  • Adaptation to the environment

The important point about all of this is that as Internet glue goes, HTML5 is the binding product for the Web.  Like TCP/IP, we are talking about something universal.    As I put together DevCon5, I am constantly asked why the event includes so many sessions about “other things.” Those other things include Edge, jQuery, PhoneGap, WebWorks, CSS3, Node.JS and a host of other Javascript off shoots. My answer is because HTML5 has changed the interaction more than the scripting language. Anyone doing HTML today will see the language getting simpler, but the power is in the way it calls media and interacts with the server side.

Back to Christian’s article, he mythbusts other key points such as:

  • Saying you can’t monetize HTML5 is the equivalent of saying you can’t monetize the Web.
  • HTML5 has no debugging tools, which we will disprove with our framework’s general session at the beginning of DevCon5.
  • HTML5 can’t be offline, which anyone that uses Gmail should know is not true and certainly has been part of the design of HTML5 all along.
  • HTML5 is not as good as native, which is true if you are interested in supporting a single native app environment.

 You have to ask what makes native first a strong strategy. The answer turns out to be mostly fear, or as my friend Bill refers to it False Evidence Appearing Real

Turns out that Apple is one of the key fear-mongers. The perspective given by Apple is that iOS is highly optimized and you have to build everything in xCode to get to the value you want. However, the reality is that Apple’s tight control is as much of a hinderance as a help.

With the realization that Apple’s iOS is less than a quarter of the market and that Android has become a Chrome (HTML5) friendly environment that is closing the gap on app sales.

I would love to claim that mobile OS device optimization is this generation’s equivalent of TN 3270 Web emulation, but that is not true because of the fact that navigation methods and user interaction does come into play. 

However, HTML5 and the W3C are the place where standardization for these methodologies are connecting and is the logical place to find continued common development. At DevCon5 we are adding a session about Touch and HTML5 that has been requested by Microsoft. 

At the event, we will also be looking at the whole opportunity of the mobile Web. So often the apps we use are wasting connection time for ads and other analytics that do nothing to enhance performance. 

As HTML5 becomes more widely adopted the client/server nature of the Web is going to come back to us and we are going to see the performance tip in favor of the cloud.

If you want to join us (and Adobe, Google, IBM, Kaazing, Microsoft and Mozilla) in south San Francisco Nov 27-29, register here or please email fcoppola@tmcnet.com.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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