BII REPORT: Why HTML5 Is Still Not Ready For Prime Time

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HTML5 is a new technology that allows developers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser.

Many think it will save the web, rendering native platform-dependent apps obsolete. 

In a new report just out from BI Intelligence, we analyse the state of the native app vs. HTML5 race, explain why native apps are winning, and detail why it may take even longer for HTML5 to win out than previously thought. 

Access The Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Here’s a brief overview of why it may take longer for HTML5 to win out:

  • Although it is often talked of like one, HTML5 is not a platform: HTML5 is a set of related standards. This is key to understanding the problems that beset HTML5. While the idea of one HTML5-powered app working across all platforms is a nice pipe dream, the reality is currently a bit more complicated. 
  • HTML5 has a burgeoning fragmentation problem: This is the very problem it is often trumpeted as a solution to. According to Appcelerator’s Michael King, there is a 30% differential on feature support across browsers. In other words, some HTML5 features may be supported in Chrome, but not in Safari or Firefox. This problem carries into mobile browsers as well. This undermines the idea that developers can create one HTML5 app and deploy it across all platforms.
  • Apple, Google, and Facebook have all defriended HTML5 – for the time being: Facebook has abandoned its HTML5-heavy app for one built from scratch with Apple’s iOS SDK. Facebook’s rating in the app store has jumped from 1.5 starts to 4 stars only a few weeks after launching the new app. While the development of the mobile web is clearly in Facebook’s business interest because HTML5 supports payments for mobile web apps, it’s not clear that it’s Apple or Google’s interest. Consumers strongly favour apps to the mobile web at the moment, and Apple and Google take a cut of native app transactions.
  • But, the promise of HTML5 remains: Zuckerberg had this to say about HTML5 last week: “It’s not that HTML5 is bad. I’m actually, long-term, really excited about it” His regret was not that Facebook spent two years dithering on HTML5, but that it spent two years on HTML5 when it wasn’t ready, or, as he put it, “it just wasn’t there.” As we’ve argued before, HTML5 is the more promising technology in the long-term, which Zuckerberg alluded to in his interview.  

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

To access BI Intelligence’s full reports on HTML5, sign up for a free trial subscription here.

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