November 08, 2012

New HTML5 Survey Suggests Big Leaps Forward for HTML5 Developers

Kendo UI, a division of Telerik offering a comprehensive framework for building JavaScript and HTML5 websites and mobile apps, recently revealed the results from a new survey the company conducted that focuses on HTML5 adoption trends as well as the impact of outside influences, such as Facebook’s (NewsAlert) decision to go native, and the W3C and WHATWG standards bodies split. Telerik also provides an exciting new HTML5-based cross platform mobile app development environment, Icenium, which the company released a few weeks ago. The survey certainly delivers good news for both Kendo and Icenium.

The Kendo UI division surveyed 4,043 developers its inaugural Global Developer Survey – a very significant number of developers that span different development environments, during the period between September 5 and September 26, 2012. The survey explored their usage, attitudes and expectations surrounding HTML5 and its adoption for mobile development initiatives. The main objective was to have developers weigh in with their perspectives in order to determine real adoption patterns of HTML5.

The key message from the survey – which to a large degree contradicts a number of other recent research reports, some of which (such as the Gartner (News Alert) Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies (2012) for example, or a fairly recent Appcelerator-IDC report) forecast adoption to still be five years away at a minimum, but which fits our own fairly detailed perspective (we’ve been covering HTML5 since early 2011) – the majority of developers are not taking a “wait and see” attitude to HTML5 development. According to the survey, adoption and usage are already significantly on the rise for both mobile and desktop applications. The survey also reveals the technology itself is the biggest factor influencing adoption but that browser fragmentation continues to be a concern.

HTML5 Adoption Timeline (News Alert) is…Today

The Kendo UI survey specifically asked developers about their HTML5 development plans, when "they" think the platform will be important for their jobs, and why they would choose HTML5 over other software development options. Listed below are the key findings from the survey:

  • 94 percent of developers are actively developing with HTML5, or plan to do so by the end of 2012
  • 63 percent are using the technology today
  • 82 percent of developers say HTML5 is important for their job immediately, or within the next 12 months
  • 13 percent say it will be important in the coming 12 to 24 months
  • The six percent of developers who have no plans for HTML5 in 2012 noted that it will become important to them in 12 to 24 months.

Developers see the biggest benefits of developing with HTML5 as follows:

  • 72 percent cite familiarity of languages – HTML, JavaScript, CSS (NewsAlert)
  • 62 percent cite overall platform reach and cross-platform support
  • 34 percent cite performance

According to Todd Anglin, who heads up Kendo UI and is vice president of HTML5 Web and Mobile Tools at Telerik, part of the challenge for analysts predicting HTML5’s future is a major change in the "constants" used to predict industry trends. Anglin notes that "HTML5 is evolving like no software platform that has come before. With backing from nearly all the industry’s heavy weights – Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon, Mozilla, Oracle, SAP, Apple (News Alert) — to name a few — the platform is capable of evolving at a pace never before observed in software. When previous experience and evolutionary trends are applied to HTML5, the math doesn’t add-up. I fully expect analyst firms will start to recognize this and recalibrate in 2013."

Our own position on this is that Anglin is right. We believe that HTML5 is entirely ready for adoption and is easily ready to deliver at least 80 percent of mobile apps.

Debate Shifts to Adoption, Value and Long-Term Success

Throughout HTML5’s development, there has been a history of heated debate on issues such as HTML5 vs. native apps and the W3C vs. WHATWG standards processes. Survey findings, however, show this debate shifting, with developers focusing less on outside influences and much more on the technology itself. Key findings here include:

  • Facebook’s decision to rewrite their HTML5 mobile iPhone app using mostly native codes made tech media headlines but has had minimal influence on either adoption or attitude toward adoption of HTML5. In fact, 73 percent of developers surveyed say Facebook’s decision has had “little to no impact” on their confidence for future HTML5 adoption.
  • When asked about the impact of the split between the W3C and WHATWG standards bodies, only 27 percent of developers reported a lot of concern. 35 percent maintained little to no concern and 38 percent were unsure whether the issue would impact their decision-making on HTML5.
  • When asked their preference for W3C vs. WHATWG, developers voiced a four to one preference for W3C, a group known to evolve standards at a slower pace than the WHATWG. However, 41 percent had no preference whatsoever.

Browser Fragmentation Continues to be a Major Concern

The fragmented browser market is a technology issue that continues to be a factor for developers. Even as standards improve and browsers, such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer all race to implement them, developers face varying HTML5 support within a browser landscape that spans desktop and mobile devices. Clearly, this is a concern for developers, who need to ensure a consistent user experience. Here are the two key findings:

  • When asked how concerned they are about browser fragmentation, given the split in the two standards bodies, 71 percent of developers expressed concern.
  • When asked to rate the issue on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the highest), 14 percent of developers rated browser fragmentation a 10.

“Despite the very real concern over browser fragmentation, the Kendo UI survey reveals adoption and usage of HTML5 is on the rise, with ease-of-use, flexibility and economies of scale trumping outside influence in determining how development decisions are made across small and large enterprises,” continues Anglin. “The survey underscores developer recognition of the need for a platform that can be used to develop software for a future dominated by no single operating system or computing form factor.”

Edited by Jamie Epstein


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