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HTML5 – Taking Mobile Development A Step Further

Mobile Technology
March 1, 2016

HTML5 has emerged as a convenient alternative to native app development in certain circumstances. Although there are some issues with HTML5 mobile apps, such as performance related issues that makes them unable to match native apps, there is a steady stream of organizations which are turning to HTML5 development.
The primary aim behind this is to reduce the cost and complexity that are involved in app development. In many amicable circumstances, the HTML5 apps are just right for an enterprise especially in a scenario when more and more HTML5 development frameworks are emerging. Thus, if you are an organization that wants to implement apps across multiple organizations, you need to consider at least HTML5 apps.

html5-vs-nativeWhat does HTML5 offer

Currently, there are some challenges facing HTML5 apps, such as performance and security concerns. Some issues around data and API’s also exist. With HTML5 apps, the user experience is not as brilliant as that with native apps. Nevertheless, HTML5 apps offer the client a “Write once – run anywhere” mobile environment. These are a collection of web pages that are optimized for mobile devices.

Thus, users become capable of handling advanced capabilities of HTML5 such as streaming video and audio data, handling graphics and animation, as well as providing offline support. A few more capabilities include addition of semantic elements, form controls, multimedia elements, and even a number of new APIs which are capable of supporting geolocation services, drag-and-drop operations, local app catching, and much more.

It is possible to integrated HTML5 apps with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) within a browser. Thus HTML components can be rendered within a browser. These include the APIs for working with the text, objects, as well as arrays. Today, all major browsers support these devices, so it is possible to implement web apps across a wide range of mobile devices.

So, when it comes to native apps, the biggest problem is making them available on various platforms. The benefit of HTML5 is that it runs everywhere a browser does, and does not require that a new toolset be downloaded and rewritten in the native language of each platform. Today there is slew of cross-platform tools available to create HTML5 apps such as: Sencha, PhoneGap Build, Application Craft, Icenium, etc.

So, does HTML5 offer the solution to create a cross-platform apps that run anywhere? Today, it is possible, but there exist some cautions and caveats that need to be considered for an HTML5 app to perform well.
With HTML5 apps, it is possible to write truly “Responsive” apps. Going forward, responsive apps will hold the sway when it comes to mobile devices. Also, when it comes to performance, HTML5 requires a different approach with respect to programming compared to a desktop. Resources on a mobile are not as plentiful and fast as that on a desktop.

Further precautions

Hence, HTML5 performance on a mobile can be affected by issues such as DOM manipulations, memory leaks, poor JavaScript libraries and other such issues, which might be disastrous for your app. Since HTML5 app functionality will vary among devices, successful developers tend to choose a judicious subset of HTML5 features so that thew functionality they require can be obtained.

Graphics and animation in HTML5 apps is actually possible. 2D animated apps are possible if kept simple and the highest speed 3d graphics is left to the native app developer. Today, HTML5 apps can be used to create amazing as well as responsive apps. Today, there is rapid evolution in the HTML5 and app frameworks, thereby rapidly improving the development experience of HTML5 apps.

In some circumstances, memory as well as performance limitations are the key considerations for HTML5 mobile development. It is imperative for the developers to carefully control the page flow and also implement the DOM effectively. They should also keep the UX in mind. For quality UX, it is advisable that the developers design a lightweight so that it does not affect performance. Additionally, the app should be tested on various platforms for various parameters such as device types, screen sizes, browsers, as well as operating systems. Keep in mind support of offline operations so that disruptions in connectivity can be accounted.

Conclusion
Since native apps are based on the native platform language that the app runs on, each platform requires its own app. Moreover, some platforms require different versions of an app so that different devices on that platform can be supported. However, HTML5 apps are platform agnostic. Thus, there exists only one code base as well as one package to maintain with HTML5.

HTML5 cannot compete with all native capabilities, such as multi-touch gestures as well as seamless integration with components that are built in. These are subject to the same risks as in the case of any Web App. Thus, developers much guard against malicious code accessing the device via bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or text messages, or even cyber attacks and improper API usage.

Pratik Kanada

I am Pratik Kanada, founder & CEO of 360 Degree Technosoft, which makes app ideas into reality by providing unique design and development services across iOS and Android platforms. I generally write blogs on mobile technology, app development and app marketing.

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