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December 27, 2012

HTML5 - 2012 in Review


The buzz around online technology in the last few years has centered on HTML5, and 2012 was never short on innovation and excitement in this space. Let’s take a look at HTML5 trends for 2012, as borrowed from a recent readwrite report.

The end of 2011 saw a number of mobile industry leaders, arguing that HTML5 was just teetering on the edge of ubiquity, and into 2012, everyone would be relying on it to build apps and mobile websites. There was also the belief that we would finally see operating systems built on HTML5 as it became the dominant development platform.

2012 saw a very different response and focus on HTML5, though. What many hoped would be developments in a positive direction turned into something very different.

Taking on Facebook and Apple (News - Alert)

There are few in the development world who don’t understand the importance of Apple and Facebook acceptance. The social media giant was a huge proponent of HTML5, and even built its native apps on Android (News - Alert), while iOS was wrapped up in mobile websites to support its movement.

When these programs were put into use, however, it was discovered that the system wasn’t the optimal choice for the purposes of app performance.

To address the issue, Facebook (News - Alert) re-launched its iOS app in straight native code to improve its performance. The Android app was redone in native code this month as well.   

For its part, Apple also worked against HTML5 in 2012 as it limited UIWebView in iOS Safari. As a result, hybrid and Web apps are slow in performance, especially compared to native apps. It’s no surprise, really, that Apple would want to limit the success of HTML5 as Web-based apps would enable users to circumvent the App Store – one of the key reasons consumers continue to buy iPads and iPhones.

The Hybrids

While Facebook has a strategy of its own, a number of other developers are integrating certain aspects of HTML5 into their own apps. The new LinkedIn app, for instance, was released in 2012 and almost entirely Node.js and HTML5.

A survey released by IDC and Appcelerator showed that nearly 63 percent of mobile developers are ‘very interested’ in the use of HTML5 to build their apps.

At the same time, developers are building roughly half of their apps with HTML5 code, seeking success without having to rely on the App Store or the Android App Store. As the app space continues to expand, thousands of apps are likely to use the hybrid wrapper model as a way to increase the efficiency of the app's infrastrucure and overall lower the costs associated with development.

Hardware – is it a Problem?

There is a holdup to the mass adoption of HTML5 apps, most importantly in how native apps provide quick and easy access to the hardware features of the typical smartphone. In pure HTML5 apps, basic functions are much more difficult to implement.

Companies are not content to just live with the challenges, however, and are tackling the hardware problem with new APIs.

Design

Let’s not forget about the adoption of responsive design. Websites and apps need to work on any device, and when it’s incorporated into HTML5 and CSS, resulting websites respond to a variety of screen sizes. One set of code built for a website will allow it to work on multiple devices, regardless of the hardware or operating system. 

Gaming

In 2011, it was assumed that gamers would lead the charge in HTML5, yet game makers appeared to have lost interest in 2012, demonstrated by the best games being built with native code.

Now, media companies appear to be taking the lead in this space, ensuring their content is readily available to all current and potential users.

But not all gamers are out of the picture. According to a NetMagazine article, quite a few games emerged leveraging HTML5, and included the top 10 in its writeup.

Grain of Truth and Dune 2 Online top the list. 

The online magazine also featured the top 20 HTML5 sites of 2012, with Gov.uk and BarackObama.com topping the list.

What will 2013 hold for HTML5? Will it continue toward evolution or will it develop a holding pattern as other, more exciting technologies take center stage? This is one question for which an answer has yet to come. 



Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Braden Becker






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