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Is HTML5 ready for Prime Time?

Is HTML5 ready for Prime Time?
Sainath Bommisetty - Technical Lead | April 3, 2013
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Not very long ago, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, ruffled the feathers of the HTML5 world by saying it was a big mistake trusting HTML5 for their foray in to mobile development. He stated,The biggest mistake weve made as a company is betting on HTML5 over native. He went on to comment that he could not evolve the FaceWeb framework the way he wanted, and he should have jumped straight to native mobile development.

Though initially I assumed Zuck was right, like many others, I was offended. I looked at things from a long-term perspective, and I figured that HTML5 would eventually be a huge movement that would dominate much of cross-platform mobile app development. But if that day wasn't quite here yet, so be it. Bugs will get worked out, things will improve, and HTML5 will have its day to shine.

Looking at the state of apps that UxD builds today, we are using that technology ("AJAX") to build things beyond the imagination. But I know technology is still glitchy here and there. Javascript is still a pretty crummy language (I do love coding in prototype style like AS1.0), and needs a framework like jQuery as soon as one writes couple of lines of DOM-manipulation, but to me, the FaceWeb problem was almost certainly more attributable to people and management issues, rather than a technological stumble, regardless of whether that resulted in a more toothsome conclusion. Even with the native app, the same poor design decisions can make the app completely useless.

Nevertheless, the folks at Sencha, too, took offense at the Zuckerberg statement, and proved that the future is actually here. It's now. For those who don't know who Sencha is, it is a company that builds an HTML5 mobile app framework and created an incredible set of HTML5 tools. They actually built a demo app using pure HTML5 to show some of the most complex features of Facebook on iOS and Android. They've built something that is not only faster, but consumes less bandwidth than the native iOS app from Facebook.

You may like to read their full blog post about the development of "Fastbook"on the Sencha blog here. It's a long post and quite fascinating. There is some pretty good evidence that Facebooks HTML5 developers were just not doing a best-in-class job of coding up their app.

So what does all this mean to us? If Facebook can be coded up using just HTML5, I don't think there is any reason to think that other apps cant be done using these same tools. When HTML5 can handle photo filters, Instragram-like apps should be possible, and when it can handle video as much as Flash, Netflix should be doable.

The convincing argument made by Sencha really makes me believe in the idea that the world is moving away from platform-specific development tools. Sure, we might need platform-specific tweaks, but HTML5 is mostly a cross-platform environment. This lowers the barriers to putting great apps on all popular mobile devices, and should level the playing field (as far as apps go) as the mobile computing market evolves.

Hence, I do believe were heading in the right direction, which is open and standard. Things can be mademuchcleaner than, say, five years ago, and with the new standards looming on the horizon to make things even better, HTML5 is ready for prime time. Many other companies like LinkedIn have chosen HTML5 for building their business critical apps and proved that HTML5 is market ready. It depends on how effectively we use knowledge on a technology than the technology itself. So we believe HTML5 is ready for prime time if effectively usedand in User Experience Design (UxD) we pull it off with clean and great from-the-ground-up designs!Visit HCL Tech's application development servicesunit to know more.

References:

http://www.netmagazine.com/news/facebook-bet-html5-big-mistake-122221

http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/07/mobile-app-development-94-of-software-developers-betting-on-html5-winning/

http://www.sencha.com/blog/the-making-of-fastbook-an-html5-love-story/

http://fb.html5isready.com

You can follow us on twitter @hclers for more updates about HCL ERS.


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