December 02, 2014

Next Big Step for Web Development May be the Open Web Platform

Web development recently passed a major milestone when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C (NewsAlert)) published the Recommendation of HTML5. This effectively makes HTML5 a done deal, bringing native support for video and audio to the language. With no revolutionary changes to HTML expected for several years, Web development seems likely to focus on the Open Web Platform (OWP). 

According to an article by ZDNet, the OWP amounts to an operating system for the Web. The article cited W3C CEO Dr. Jeffrey Jaffe, who stated will consist of eight application foundations that handle low-level operations: security and privacy, performance and tuning, usability and accessibility, media and real-time communications, application lifecycle, core web design and development, and common services. Just as the operating system provided basic memory management and disk I/O operations to application developers in a DOS/Windows environment on PCs, these eight foundations will provide a platform for web developers to build on.

The jump to HTML5 is a revolutionary change in the language. As mentioned earlier, the language will provide native support for audio and video media. This eliminates the need for plugins that tend to be unstable and hog resources.

Because it runs in any supporting browser, HTML5 offers great cross-platform development in mobile environments. Developer teams already skilled in HTML can leverage that knowledge to build Web apps based in HTML5. These apps will run on iOS, Android (NewsAlert), Windows Phone and any mobile OS that supports HTML5.

This offers two huge advantages. First, HTML5’s OS-agnostic approach eliminates the need to develop separate code bases for each operating system. Secondly, it gives teams that do not have the budget for expensive APIs another option. While it’s true that these APIs solve the multiple code base problem with one code base that targets multiple environments, they are often very expensive and put the companies that use them to build numerous apps at risk if the vendor goes out of business.

Dr. Jaffe mentioned that efforts were already underway to have an HTM 5.1 recommendation in 2016 and a draft for HTML 5.2, but did not expect the language to have a revolutionary change in the future. This is not because Web development won’t change, but the process to standardize it likely will. Instead of monolithic changes to the whole language, parts of it will change separately. It’s a sign that not only is development taking a more agile approach, but so is the process of approving standards.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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