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HTML5 - What I Am Learning

I have read that it is expected to have a huge impact on mobile software applications

With all the discussion around HTML5, I thought I would spend some time getting to know more about it myself. I will be researching it and sharing what I am learning through a series of articles over the next month.  I have read that it is expected to have a huge impact on mobile software applications and the business models of software vendors. Is it ready for prime time? I hear a variety of opinions on that subject.

Sybase has stated that their goal is to "enable web developers to become mobile application developers" through the use of HTML5 and their mobile SDK that will come with SUP (the Sybase Unwired Platform).  I was told by Nick Brown at SAP that version 2.1 of SUP would be out in the September 2011 time frame and this version will include HTML5 support and an HTML5 container.

Mobile application design and development is challenging, in part, because applications traditionally needed to be customized for each different mobile operating system version and different mobile device. Developers needed to create multiple versions of the same application to accommodate different screen sizes, screen types, resolution, graphics, buttons, keyboards, barcode scanners, RFID system, digital cameras, etc.

In a perfect world we would have one stable and reliable programming language that works across all mobile platforms. That is the idea behind HTML5, although we don't live in a perfect world. HTML5 makes it possible to design, develop, and publish one time and display the published content via each mobile device’s HTML5 compliant browser.

What is HTML5?  HTML5 is as the name says, the fifth major version of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the core language of the web. It is non-proprietary, open source and free for all to use. W3C - the World Wide Web Consortium – is the main international standards organization for the Web, and the Consortium that develops and approves the HTML5 standard.

What are some of the benefits of HTML5?

• Cost and speed of development: Developing an HTML5 app takes roughly half or less of the time compared to developing a native app.

• Compatibility across platforms: Mobile Applications developed using HTML5 will be usable across a broad range of devices getting us closer to the goal of develop once and use many times.

• Dynamic content and layout: Content and layouts can be changed instantly.

• Optional installation: HTML5 apps can be distributed regularly via an App Store or can be made available via the browser. Users aren’t forced to install anything before using it.

What are the limitations of HTML5?

• Standards are still in development: The HTML5 standard is still being developed and the final version is still a couple of years away.

• Performance: HTML runs slower than applications developed using native code.

• Limited features: APIs such as GameCenter, in-app-purchase and peer-to-peer networking aren’t available in HTML5 without custom code.

I have spoken to a number of SAP mobility EcoHub partners about their views on HTML5. Some have already released production mobile applications using HTML5, while others are taking a wait and see approach.

HTML5 has the opportunity to radically change vendors’ business models and application designs due to the reduction of cost and time for development, but it is still a few years from being finalized. Native development is not going away anytime soon.

What are your thoughts on HTML5?  I would like to hear from you.

Upcoming Events

ClickConnect APAC 2011, July 11 – 13, 2011
Syclo Mobile Conference 2011, July 13 – 15, 2011
Mobile Case Study: Healthrageous Accelerates Time to Market through Mobile Development Strategy, July 13, 2011
Critical Requirements for Mobile App Development:  Agility and Speed Strategy, Process, and Tools to Accelerate Mobile Development, July 21, 2011



Whitepapers of Note

The Business Benefits of Mobile Adoption with SAP Systems
ClickSoftware Mobility Suite and Sybase Mobility Solution
Mobile Adoption Among Gas and Electric Utilities
Mobile Adoption in Life Sciences
Mobile Adoption in Oil and Gas
Networked Field Services

Recorded Webinars of Note

3 Critical Considerations for Embracing Mobile CRM
The Future of Enterprise Mobility
The Latest m-Business Trends and How the Onslaught of Mobile Devices Affects Development Strategies
The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise:  The Benefits of Rapid, Easy Access
Syclo and SAP Deliver Mobile Apps on Sybase Unwired Platform




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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.

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