November 15, 2012

Apperian: HTML5 Standard Enables Us to Create Good Quality Experience

HTML5 introduces many cutting-edge features that enable developers to create apps and websites with the functionality, speed, performance and experience of desktop applications. A recent survey found that the majority of developers are not taking a “wait and see” attitude to HTML5 development.

Adoption and usage are already significantly on the rise for both mobile and desktop applications.

Apperian (NewsAlert) is one company that supports and secures the complete mobile application lifecycle. The Apperian Enterprise App Service Environment (EASE) platform seamlessly interconnects backend security modules with the front end Admin portal or Marketplace. Modules contain a number of services and capabilities to inspect and protect corporate devices, apps and data.

TMC (NewsAlert) had the chance to speak with Cimarron Buser, VP of Business Development at Apperian Inc., about HTML5 trends.

When it comes to mobile development there are three primary routes to go: native, Web-based or a hybrid approach.

“I feel that it is still the case that users prefer a ‘native app’ for mobile apps, primarily due to the gap in features between what browser-based HTML5 and native offers,” said Buser. “Even the most rabid HTML5 fan would admit that certain things, such as push notification, high-end UI features and offline support, are better in a native app. And we think this gap will continue for some time.”

Apperian provides Apple (News Alert) iOS and Google Android developers with a mobile app platform and a range of tools, including an SDK and templates for building “native” mobile apps. It wants to ensure the best and most efficient enterprise application development.

“As a provider of mobile application management, one of our options for enterprise customers is an ‘enterprise app catalog’ customized for their use in HTML5,” said Buser. “The HTML5 standard has enabled us to create a good quality experience for a wide variety of mobile browsers, including iOS, Android (NewsAlert) and Blackberry. And when new platforms arise, e.g., Windows 8, the HTML5 version will often work ‘out of the box’ or very close to it. At least in the mobile space, the browsers for newer smartphones are fairly predictable which makes this process easier.”

“Bottom line – for us, being able to offer both Web-based HTML5 and a ‘native’ option is a plus,” said Buser.

Programmer Douglas Crockord asserted that JavaScript would be the “new overlord” of the Web. In reality, it’s probably not quite that simple, as JavaScript presents many challenges to developers. Still, it does have the chance to overtake the Web and many companies are looking closely at the technology and the overall future of HTML5. Buser agrees.

“Javascript has survived and thrived with the advent of add ons such as jquery and node,” said Buser. “I think that this will continue.”

In Web development, frameworks provide the promise of shortened development times and better maintainability.

“The problem we have now is ‘framework wars,’ multiple BaaS solutions and confusion,” said Buser. “I assume that the market will work it out, but it could be messy for awhile.”

Business applications require their own app store. By app store, Buser means a “private app store model where organizations get to have their own private Idaho. Basically, the problem to be solved is ‘trustworthiness’ and also providing productive apps to employees and partners that have been screened or developed for them.”

The enterprise app store model also allows companies to create their own ratings, comments and crowdsourcing away from the maddening crowds of the public app store. Having control over the workflow or who gets what apps, controlling the versions of apps provided to employees and being able to both “on board” and remove apps and data on a per-user basis is critical to companies.

You can’t do this by relying on a public app store model.

Buser said, “Authentication can be done against the company’s own active directory or system of record for users; you can’t easily do this if everyone is purchasing or downloading individual apps with a credit card!”

“From my standpoint, Microsoft (News Alert) and RIM both have a great enterprise and business heritage. That’s why it’s been so surprising to see Apple become a ‘market leader’ in serving the enterprise,” said Buser. “By providing both products and an ‘enterprise-friendly’ approach, there is a door open right now for Microsoft and RIM; the game is not over!”

A year and a half ago, mobile users tended to spend considerably more time — an average of 64 minutes per day – using the Web browser on their phone or tablet. By comparison, they spent only 43 minutes per day in apps. Now mobile users now spend an average of 94 minutes per day using apps, but just 72 minutes browsing the mobile Web. The emergence of tablets has added to the mobile space, and has created opportunities for developers in creating apps for both phones and tablets.

“Certainly, there is a shared code base and architecture, but there is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the larger real estate that tablets provide,” explained Buser. “Similarly, developing for the small screen can be more challenging, and force the developer and designer to think about the essential and critical functionality that users need. Less is more.”

To keep up with the latest trends and news in the HTML5 space, DevCon5 provides the information and tools needed to exploit the capabilities of HTML5. Attendees will spend two days immersed in HTML5 topics, including user experience design and security, building new business models for the mobile Web, browser computability with HTML5 and more.

DevCon5 will be held in San Francisco from Nov. 27 – 29. To register, click here.

Edited by Braden Becker


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