February 12, 2014

For Developers, HTML5 Hot, Windows Not So Much

A platform, essentially, lives and dies by the number and total usefulness of the applications that can be run on said platform. A new development emerging suggests that Windows may be on the way out, as a new study from Sencha, a developer tool seller, shows there's quite a bit of interest in developing not so much for the desktop, but rather for the HTML5 market. While there's still some doubt as yet as to how well the HTML5 platform can do in terms of native development, some reports have suggested that HTML5 developers are starting to leave out support for Windows altogether.

The Sencha report took input from 2,128 developers in HTML5, including those who used Sencha tools in development processes. The results were telling, as over 70 percent of developers were planning to do more in 2013 than in 2012 with HTML5, and in 2014, 75 percent were planning to do still more. Over 60 percent had made a complete move to HTML5 or hybrid development systems, and only four percent of respondents were planning to cut back on HTML5 development being done.

These numbers stand with at least limited support from Forrester (NewsAlert), which released a report of its own recently saying that native application development was holding as superior, despite a growing movement that found HTML5 development to be increasingly useful. The Forrester report also suggested that development in HTML5 can take longer than planned, resulting in some delays. But the Sencha survey does have some connection, even if the Sencha numbers are more connected to HTML5.

One critical point that's driving this, again from the Sencha survey, is that over 50 percent of developers are working to target both desktop and mobile devices, with developers on average supporting five different device types, specifically, both iPhone and iPad, Windows and Mac OS, and at least one breed of Android (NewsAlert) device. Where this gets interesting, though, is that 30 percent of developers have pulled support for Windows devices, specifically laptops and desktops, suggesting a more mobile focus may be afoot. Indeed, 23 percent of developers were found supporting Windows tablets, yet just 12 percent actually test applications on said tablets. The clear winners were Apple (News Alert) and Android devices, with 60 percent of developers building for Android phones, and 55 percent targeting Android tablets. Meanwhile, iPhone support was at 57 percent and iPad support at 58 percent.

There's been a real rush, in recent days, of new mobile devices coming out. The bring your own device (BYOD) movement has spurred some of this, so too the mobile workforce concept, and when the sheer number of people using such devices for personal reasons comes into account, then the whole thing starts to make a bit more sense. Developers want to go where the people go; much like advertisers, there's no sense in developing for a platform that no one's using. But by like token, there's still quite a bit of work and play being accomplished every day on desktop devices, so it's worth keeping a toe in that water, so to speak, a plan that many developers seem to be pursuing.

So it's not a surprise to see developers get more interested in HTML5. Indeed, desktops and laptops can put HTML5 to work as well. While it's not likely to be a panacea, it's much more likely to be used in the future,  and that makes HTML5 a good place to be down the line.

More on this topic and everything else HTML5 will be discussed at the upcoming Devcon5 event in New York, July 9-10, 2014.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker


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