February 28, 2013

HTML5 Ascendent

Kendo UI, a division of Telerik, has just released the results of its latest HTML5 survey – one that specifically follows up on an earlier survey Kendo UI conducted in November 2012 that uncovered some very interesting HTML5 directions.

The new survey builds on the earlier survey, the findings of which are well worth reviewing.

As with the earlier survey, Kendo UI has drawn on a very large population of over 5,000 global developers, CIOs and technology executives from all walks of enterprise life, ranging from startups to large enterprises. The survey was conducted from January 9, 2013 through January 28, 2013, and the number of respondents makes the results and findings significant.

As did the earlier survey, the key thing the findings underscore is that HTML5’s time has arrived. There is no doubt, at least as far as the Kendo UI survey indicates, that HTML5 has finally moved into a position to dominate both near term and future Web and mobile app development.

It certainly justifies Intel acquiring appMobi’s HTML5 assets last week.

Back in 2010, we wrote a detailed mobile development whitepaper that highlighted two things: a) our belief that HTML5 would become the key development platform within the enterprise, and b) our belief that HTML5 would drive a new enterprise development methodology where mobility would be the first key development feature of any enterprise app, that could then in turn be further expanded and grown into full-fledged desktop enterprise applications.

The point here is that rather than first developing a monolithic enterprise app or Web app first and then trying to shoehorn it into a mobile format, it would make far better sense to develop the mobile app first and then, using the same HTML5, JavaScript and CSS (NewsAlert) code base, look to expand it afterwards.

Further one developer skill set is all that is needed to deliver apps across all different types of platforms – from smartphones to tablets to desktops.

The advantage here is that the expanded app would already have a mobile DNA – it’s much easier to expand later than to try and shrink an app after the fact. Well, we’re not quite at this enterprise development paradigm yet, but if HTML5 adoption rates continue along the path the Kendo UI survey suggests, then the enterprise world is finally beginning to get there.

Survey Says…

Here are some key points from the survey on what we’ve highlighted above:

  • A huge 70 percent of respondents now say that the adoption of HTML5 is their first choice for app development.
  • 50 percent of those surveyed developed a variety of apps in 2012 using HTML5, and nine out of 10 respondents plan to use HTML5 in 2013.
  • 39 percent of current native app builders spend significant time redeveloping the same app and features for multiple platforms, instead of innovating new apps or new features.
  • Only 24 percent of those surveyed believe HTML5 is overhyped.
  • A small number of respondents, 15 percent say they’d leverage pure native development as a first choice.

 The following table is also of significant interest:

Clearly, company size doesn’t matter as far as emerging HTML5 adoption is concerned – this is a critical issue, especially in terms of the larger enterprises. Whether a business is a global enterprise, an SMB or a startup, pure HTML5 development and hybrid app development preferences are consistent across the board, with 36 percent support for the former and 32 percent support for the latter.

These are non-trivial numbers. As the Kendo UI survey was global in scope, the survey was able to deliver a further interesting usage number, as the chart below indicates.

The adoption numbers shown aren’t merely about giving HTML5 lip service – they indicate actual working use, and clearly it is substantial across all global regions.

Todd Anglin, executive vice president, Cross Platform Tools & Services for Telerik makes note of this: “There have been many predictions on the future for HTML5 for app development – especially in mobile. There is incontrovertible growing proof of adoption and interest in HTML5 for desktop, mobile web and hybrid apps development…pretty much everywhere.” Indeed.

Relevant to our earlier discussion related to building mobile apps first and larger Web/desktop apps then following, the Kendo UI survey suggests developers are still not focused along these lines, as the chart below points out.

It is an interesting 60 percent vs. 40 percent (smartphones + tablets) split. We suspect the difference will soften in 2014, and then we’ll arrive at an inflection point towards mobile-first development – most of it driven by HTML5.

The Kendo UI report also points out an interesting correlation between developer interests in building out Web/desktop apps and the results of asking respondents about their perceptions related to ease of use among various operating systems.

The results shown in the chart below may prove surprising to some.

Apple’s (News Alert) iOS and Android certainly remain the two most popular mobile platforms in the consumer market, but businesses are clearly singing an entirely different song. Windows 8 – not surprising to us by any stretch – shows a powerful enterprise position here. It is also interesting to see Chrome emerge.

Together, the two certainly point to the 60/40 split we noted earlier.

Finally, the following chart shows a further correlation between the operating systems of choice and those that are perceived as less important.

BlackBerry (News Alert) is at the bottom of the list here in both regards – hard to develop for, and little interest in developing for it. To be honest, the survey was taken before Blackberry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 were formally launched, and BlackBerry 10 support for HTML5 is in fact very strong. BlackBerry has also delivered its new Cascades toolset for developers that may change perceptions.

But BlackBerry may simply be too late to the game at this point.

We’ll stop here as we’ve gotten the main points underscored by the report across the transom. That said, there’s much more in the report. The complete Kendo UI Global Developer Survey report is available for free download. It’s worth far more than its price tag (NewsAlert).

Edited by Braden Becker


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