To reach the widest possible audience today you must deploy an application quickly and efficiently on a full range of devices, each with wildly different specs and screen sizes. Developers are increasingly turning to HTML5 to create applications that live outside the confines of the web and browser; that puts HTML5 on the hot list of topics for the entire development community.
<Inside the Brackets>, a monthly series of roundtable discussions sponsored by Intel, explores the opportunities, challenges, and best practices of cross-platform HTML5 development. Hosted by mobile strategy consultant Jonathan Stark, the series features panelists that run the gamut—from developers and tool makers to mobile industry analysts, researchers, and the W3C. Each participant brings something different to the conversation, making for lively debates and insightful discussions. Each episode concludes with a live Q&A where the audience can pose questions directly to the panel of experts.
In the premier episode, panelists discussed the state of HTML5 today—its growth, upsides, and pain points. Michael Rasalan, director of research at Evans Data, cited research that indicates HTML5 is being used in some capacity by about half of the world's developer community. Speculating on why that's the case, Mike Richmond, senior architect with Intel's Open Source Technology Center, pointed out that HTML5 has helped lower the barrier to entry for new developers.
"What makes it so attractive is its higher level of abstraction," Richmond said. "It's a disruptor in the same way that a native language like C was when people were using assembly language to program."
When asked why Intel, a computer chip manufacturer, and Adobe, the maker of Flash* and Flex* technology, are so heavily invested in HTML5, Richmond explained that Intel’s stake in HTML5 is rooted in its commitment to helping ensure software development productivity across a broad range of platforms. Similarly, LeRoux pointed to Adobe’s deep involvement in tools that facilitate publishing content across the widest range of platforms, including mobile. A discussion ensued on the merits of HTML5, leading to a hot topic—which is better, native or HTML5 development? The consensus among the panelists was that it depends on what you're trying to accomplish, what your business needs are, and what your end users expect.
That question was the focus of Episode 2, in which iOS developer Drew Crawford, owner of Drew Crawford Apps, championed the cause of going native, explaining that his benchmarking revealed web apps to be intrinsically slow.
Dan Bricklin of Alpha Software Corporation and Software Garden, Inc.—and father of the spreadsheet—countered that performance is only needed in certain types of apps. Dave Methvin, president of the jQuery Foundation, added that HTML5 offers a different kind of speed—faster development times. And Intel's Mike Richmond observed that every developer has to balance performance against the pressure to bring products to market faster, concluding that adopting a hybrid approach that combines native code with open-source libraries and APIs could help some developers achieve both goals.
Throughout the series, panelists touched on a great many other topics—bridging the gap between traditional and web development models, monetization, the pros and cons of centralized distribution via app stores, the effects of premature optimization and standardization, what the future holds for HTML5 and cross-platform development, and more. The conversations have been insightful and inspiring. Check out highlights today on YouTube.
Future episodes promise to be even more thought-provoking, with topics ranging from real-world war stories and cross-platform performance to monetization, fragmentation, designing apps that run everywhere, and beyond. If you have a burning question to ask, attend a future discussion and participate in the live Q&A!
About the Author
Before signing on as one of the writing muses for RH+M3, Dominic Milano spent many years in print, online, and event media production, working on DV magazine, Game Developer magazine and the Game Developer Conference, Keyboard magazine, Guitar Player magazine, and more.