HTML5: Pros, Cons, and Applications{3}


HTML5, the new standard for the language that helps build web pages, replaces the outgoing standard, which was established in 1999 (“Html5 introduction”). Since 1999, the World Wide Web has changed drastically in the type of content and how it is displayed. It has become media rich and highly responsive for the many different devices which we can access the web.

New features to address the growth and change of the web have been implemented with HTML5. One feature that has a large impact on current web development is the <video> element. Prior to HTML5 there was no native way for HTML to display video. Developers would have to rely on Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight plug-inS. These became de facto standards and not supported by every device or browser. HTML5 eliminates the need for video plug-ins and sets a standard for video playback on browsers for both mobile and desktop browsers. This is ideal for responsive web pages that need to adapt to many different screen sizes and even devices. Currently there are only three video formats supported, those being MP4, WebM, and Ogg (“Html5 video”).

Another great new feature for HTML5 is the Geolocation API that is used to retrieve the user’s position. Now, this brings up security concerns, even though the location is only accessible if the user consents to the gathering of location data. Mobile devices with GPS capability can pass along that information to the Geolocation API for more accurate results. (“Html5 geolocation”). This feature has many applications, one being for a web application to serve up points of interest, search results, special offers, or ads based on the user’s location. Geolocation can be used in conjunction with geographic information systems to plot points on a map that is drawn using the <canvas> element, also new to HTML5 (Boulos, 2010). This opens up the opportunity for real-time data to be received and sent out for analysis. This can be coupled with application cache which allows for offline browsing and use of the application, reduced server load and increased speed and local resources load faster than over the Internet (“Html5 application cache”).

These combined new features brought together with HTML5 offer mobile application developers a new avenue for building their next solution. Instead of dealing with platforms on an individual basis, such as Java for Android, Xcode for iOS, and C++ or C# for Windows, developers can use HTML5 as it is cross platform. Some new challenges arise with this approach, applying the right features in the application and allowing future hardware and browser releases to interpret and execute the code appropriately. From a business perspective, this allows companies to reduce costs associated with application development as there is only one project to undertake. Some advantages pointed out by Tao Wang, Technical Manager for Intel, are the adaptive and responsive, utilizes new hardware on devices, such as camera and GPS, can develop specifically for mobile, but can migrate to a desktop web application much easier, and can be local or web based. Everything isn’t perfect though and here are a few examples of HTML5’s shortfalls, since it is being used cross-platform many different specifications have to be taken into consideration to ensure proper functionality throughout the application and the HTML5 standard was developed in a short period of time causing some mismatches in regards to CSS attributes, HTML tags, and JavaScript APIs.(Wang, 2013).

To further elaborate on HTML5 applications we turn to the forever existing Intel Admin. He, or she, explains that HTML5 applications are no limited to web pages. They can be packaged and installed locally as a “…hybrid web app…” (Admin, 2013). This allows companies to use the same distribution and monetization channels as native Windows or Mac OS applications. This eliminates the decision to code for one platform or another. The development process is streamlined to develop once, package for different platforms, and deploy. Depending on how certain platforms manage windows, a responsive layout is a must for cross-platform developing as the application can adapt to the changing environment with completely different operating systems. To overcome any problems with functionality across platforms, Admin recommends using cross-platform APIs to provide a standard across different runtime environments (Admin, 2013).

In conclusion, HTML5 allows more flexibility for different devices consumers use to consume media and interact with applications. The old way of thinking of applications is no longer and the web is now capable of evolving to its next stage of independent applications and media consumption. Business can benefit from reduced costs associated with application development. HTML developers now have much more powerful tools to execute their solutions in a more streamlined manner.

 

References

Admin. (2013, October 17). Building cross-platform apps with html5 | intel® developer zone. Retrieved from http://software.intel.com/en-us/html5/articles/building-cross-platform-apps-with-html5

Boulos, M. (2010). Web gis in practice viii: Html5 and the canvas element for interactive online mapping.International Journal of Health Geographics,9(14), 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.ij-healthgeographics.com/content/9/1/14

Html5 application cache. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_app_cache.asp

Html5 geolocation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_geolocation.asp

Html5 introduction. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_intro.asp

Html5 video. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_video.asp

Wang, T. (2013, November 26). Pros and cons of html5 cross-platform android* mobile app development tools on intel® processor-based devices | intel® developer zone. Retrieved from http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/pros-and-cons-of-html5-cross-platform-android-mobile-app-development-tools-on-intel