The Rapidly Changing Landscape of Mobile HTML5 (By Luthando)

According to the latest usage statistics posted on W3Techs, more than 54% of all websites currently use HTML5 as a markup language. The effectiveness of HTML5 can also be determined from the fact that it is currently being used by YouTube as its default video player. Likewise, Facebook has also switched from Flash to HTML5 for all its videos. A number of surveys have also highlighted that a large percentage of developers nowadays prefer HTML5 mobile applications to native and hybrid mobile applications.

HTML5, along with CSS3 and JavaScript, helps developers to build responsive websites that look good on each device. Also, the HTML5 applications deliver optimized viewing experience on desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and phablets. Unlike native and hybrid mobile apps, the HTML5 mobile apps run on web browsers. Major operating systems and web browsers currently support the fifth version of HTML. Hence, it becomes easier for developers to manage, update and distribute the mobile applications without any hassle. There are also a number of reasons why many analysts believe that HTML5 is changing the mobile app development landscape consistently.

Why HTML5 is Transforming the Mobile App Development Landscape?

Simplifies Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

To generate more revenue, developers nowadays build mobile apps by targeting multiple mobile platforms. The features and native programming language of individual mobile platforms vary. So developers have to put extra time and effort to build native apps for each targeted mobile OS. But HTML5 makes it easier for developers to create cross-platform mobile apps using commonly used web technologies. The programmers can further write a single codebase and reuse the same code base across different mobile platforms.

Overcome Mobile Device and OS Fragmentation

While developing mobile apps, developers find it daunting to address key challenges like mobile device and OS fragmentation. For instance, they have to build apps by targeting a variety of devices powered by the latest versions of iOS or Windows Phone. Similarly, they have to ensure that the app runs flawlessly on a wide variety of devices powered by different models of Android. HTML5 enables developers to build apps that run seamlessly on each mobile device, platform and network. Hence, it becomes easier for HTML5 developers to focus on the features and functionality of the app, instead of worrying about device and operating system fragmentation.

No Need to Learn Native Language of Each Platform

While developing native apps, developers have to use the native programming language of each targeted mobile platform. For instance, they have to write Android apps in Java, and iOS apps in Objective-C or Swift. But HTML5 enables developers to make the web application available on many mobile platforms without using multiple programming languages. They can simply use commonly used web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript to build a variety of cross-platform mobile apps and responsive websites.

Easy to Maintain and Update Apps

As noted earlier, HTML5 enables programmers to write the mobile application once, and deploy it across multiple mobile platforms. Hence, the developers are required to maintain a single code base. They can easily make changes to the code to make the app bug-free and flawless across many platforms. Similarly, the single code base makes it easier for programmers to add new features and functionalities to the application, without pushing users to update their apps. They can even change the content of the applications easily to keep the users interested and engaged.

Improve Visibility of Apps

At present, users have option to choose from millions on mobile apps available in App Store, Google Pay, and Windows Store. Hence, the businesses must implement a robust marketing strategy to improve the visibility and discoverability of their apps. Likewise, they must promote the paid apps effectively to convince users to prefer them over similar free apps. But businesses often find it easier to distribute and market HTML5 applications. Unlike native apps, HTML5 applications need not be submitted to various app stores. The open distribution mode further helps businesses to improve the visibility and discoverability of their applications, while reducing competition.

Option to Use Many Robust HTML5 Frameworks

The developers also have option to reduce the mobile app development time significantly by using robust HTML5 frameworks. Based on the nature and requirements of the project, they have option to choose from several HTML5 frameworks including Kendo UI, Ionic, Intel XDK, Sencha Touch and Framework 7. The developers can also use PhoneGap to package the HTML5 applications natively, and distribute them through app stores.

Curtail Development Cost

HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript are open source web technologies. So these technologies help businesses to reduce cross-platform mobile app development cost significantly. An enterprise also has option to build hybrid mobile apps by leveraging the skill of its existing web developers. Any developer familiar with these commonly used web technologies can easily build a variety of mobile applications. Also, HTML5 frameworks enable developers to build robust applications without putting extra time and effort. The reduced development time and simple distribution model further help businesses to reduce time to market significantly.

However, the developers still need to address a number of challenges while developing HTML5 applications. For instance, the slow execution speed of HTML5 impacts the performance of mobile apps as most mobile devices have limited processing power. Likewise, HTML5 mobile apps cannot take advantage of features specific to devices and operating systems. Also, these applications lack monetization and marketing options as there is no centralized store for these mobile apps. Many developers still prefer developing HTML5 mobile applications to make new applications available on multiple platforms within a shorter amount of time.


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