Computer programmers have been grappling with cross-platform issues since there was a second platform. Since then, the number of issues has rapidly increased. Today’s developers can target at least four operating systems (plus their fragments), running on devices with all shapes, sizes, resolutions, persistence levels, input methods, carrier networks, connection speeds and states, UI conventions, app stores, deployment and update mechanisms, and on and on.
Many of the world’s developers once looked to Java* as the shining knight of cross-platform development. Indeed, the structured language of Sun* (and now Oracle) continues to solve many cross-platform issues. But it also introduces obstacles, not the least of which is a class structure that heavily burdens even the tiniest of program functions. Java’s heft grew still more burdensome as developers turned to the browser for app delivery; Java applets are black boxes that are as opaque to the browser as the language is closed to the developer (with all due deference to the JCP).
Intel Software Adrenaline: Why is HTML5 better than Java for cross-platform development?
Java also has some really nice features that enable efficient code generation with very little need for expensive compiler analysis, such as type-based and offset-based disambiguation for registerization.
HTML5 offers a more attractive alternative. Just write your application and run it on any kind of computing device, whether it’s a phone, tablet, netbook, desktop, or TV. If the device supports HTML5, it will run there. You don’t even need to compile; you just write your program, and it gets distributed and executed.
Figure 1: Adam de Boor, Google
Figure 2: Luke Hoban, Microsoft
ISA: Can you give us an example of such a scenario?
According to Haghighat, Intel engineers continue to optimize HTML5 engines on Intel platforms and add new functionality to HTML5. Intel sees HTML5 as a major step forward toward the era of transparent computing. To further accelerate HTML5 adoption, Intel also now offers the Intel® XDK, a complete suite for developers to build, test, debug, package, and deploy their HTML5 apps to a variety of platforms including Android, Firefox* OS, and iOS.
Intel® XDK HTML5 development environment: http://html5dev-software.intel.com/
Intel® Developer Zone: http://software.intel.com/en-us/html5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Edward J. Correia has been a part of the computer industry since 1980, when he began selling (and occasionally hacking) computers from Atari and Commodore. In addition to writing for RH+M3, Correia currently serves as managing editor at the CRN Test Center, a computer and networking test lab that he helped establish in 1995. During a 10-year hiatus from CRN’s parent company, United Business Media, Correia was editor of Software Test & Performance magazine and executive editor of SD Times.