December 30, 2013

Survey Shows Mobile App Developers Frustrated with HTML5

The challenges of multiple platform development faced by mobile app developers were evident in a recent survey that shows interest in building apps for HTML5 waning over the past two years.

The survey found that 59.9 percent of developers were “very interested” in building apps on HTML5, the lowest level since International Data Corp. (IDC (NewsAlert)) began tracking the specification in April 2011. While still significant, the percentage has dropped from 72.7 percent in July 2012.

“Most respondents were neutral on HTML5, agreeing that it had its place for certain kinds of apps, but couldn’t be looked to as a cure-all for the challenges of multi-platform development,” wrote the IDC in its survey report.

The rapid expansion of mobile technology has created both opportunities and challenges for mobile app developers, and the industry is still shifting with each new operating system release.

“The recent launch of iOS 7, which was riddled with problems for HTML5, also served as a reminder that support for the specification isn’t a priority for platform vendors, who understandably want to differentiate the capabilities of their own operating systems rather than write to a generalized mean,” IDC wrote.

“This, coupled with the fact that the differential in feature support across browsers may be as high as 30 percent, point to a future in which HTML5 is but one more tool in the toolkit, not a silver bullet,” IDC continued.

Indeed, the survey results indicate developers will continue to rely on multiple technologies to meet the demands of multiple platforms for mobile app development.

JavaScript seems to be gaining strength again, with more than 88 percent of developers finding it “likely” or “very likely” that in 2014 JavaScript would increasingly dominate both client- and server-side development. The ability to work with cloud applications has strengthened JavaScript’s use in the industry.

“Over the last couple of years, JavaScript emerged as a significant force because it allows developers to build robust applications that run inside the browser,” wrote Michael Vizard in a blog for Programmable Web. “Looker Data Sciences has developed a business intelligence application written mostly in JavaScript that allows user to leverage a real-time processing engine to directly access multiple sources of Big Data.”

The survey of 6,698 mobile application developers was conducted from November 14-30, 2013, on behalf of appcelerator, a provider of tools for building mobile applications.


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