HTML5 is a new technology that allows developers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device or platform. Many think it will save the web, rendering native platform-dependent apps obsolete.
After abandoning Facebook’s HTML5 app earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg had this to say: “It’s not that HTML5 is bad. I’m actually, long-term, really excited about it.”
To get a fuller take on where the industry’s HTML5 vs. Native Apps debate stands, BI Intelligence recently interviewed Michael King, director of enterprise strategy at Appcelerator. Appcelerator has a good vantage point, as it has helped developers create over 50,000 mobile apps, including apps native to iOS and Android, as well as HTML5 mobile Web apps. BI Intelligence has separately produced multiple reports on HTML5, analysing why HTML5 will eventually win out, and why it is not yet ready for prime time.
Here are some excerpts from our interview:
- King’s opinion on HTML5 is simple: While native apps have a clear edge in terms of features and user experience, both HTML5 advocates and critics may be missing the point. HTML5 is not necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition. King says “You have enterprises, for example, that are making decisions on a single app. That’s one kind of decision. It’s a different decision if they have to make 19 apps. You look at it as one core tenet of your mobile strategy.”
- Sentiment is swinging away from HTML5 at the moment: Says King, “right now, app developers are definitely swinging away from the Web and away from HTML5. They’re leaning more toward native apps. And that’s because, quite frankly, the HTML5 apps they have built aren’t performing and the HTML5 apps they’re testing aren’t performing.”
- Functionality is key: King described what he calls the “slope of interactivity.” He says “the higher up the slope you go, the more interactive the app. Your requirements for a native functionality grow as you move farther up the slope. Something like Netflix video consumption isn’t very interactive — apps like that are a great place to use HTML5.”
- But, developers and publishers need to look at both options: King argues that “it’s very much about being able to ask yourself what functions of the app are required to be native and what functions of an app can I render in an HTML5 Web view. Looking at it like that, it does sort of give you an infinite spectrum of possibilities. It’s not about locking into a specific functionality and a specific architecture.”
In full, BI Intelligence’s reports on HTML5 analyse:
- What HTML5 is, giving an overview of how it is a technology done by committee
- Why the HTML5-vs-Apps debate matters, breaking down its impact on distribution, monetization, platform power and network effects, and functionality.
- The success of an HTML5 pioneer, The Financial Times.How and when HTML5 will take over, laying out how it has all the hallmarks of a disruptive technology.
- What an HTML5 future will look like, with the promise of richer and more interactive experiences.
- Why native apps are winning now, and why it is taking so long for HTML5 to win out
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