The Subtle Rise of HTML5

by Cole O’C
Over the last two years, HTML5 has been supported and adopted by a lot of big name companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn. While HTML5 is technically only the latest version of a technical standard, it has come to represent a set of features and capabilities that both enhance user experience and simplify development processes. This simplification is most plainly seen when companies are developing an application for both iOS and Android; HTML5 allows them to develop one application that can be run on any web browser. The powerful tools of HTML5 make it hard to differentiate between the cloud and the web, as well as desktop and client functionality. The technology is incredibly flexible and quite affordable to incorporate. However, the new standard does have its downsides. Applications developed with HTML5 are sometimes limited compared to their iOS and Android counterparts, as certain features are harder to access. Another issue facing HTML5 is application distribution, which has become an almost non-issue for iOS via the App Store and Android via the Marketplace. Google Chrome’s app store, which seeks to become a primary HTML5 distributor, is fairly new and does not have quite the presence of its non-HTML5 counterparts. Although it may take some time, HTML5 has the potential to overcome its weaknesses and become a platform-spanning giant.

I think the change to HTML5 is excellent, even with the more simple features that I have used. The flexibility it offers websites is far superior to previous versions, and the new features it adds will inevitably become the standard. For instance, Flash (by Adobe) will eventually become obsolete HTML5 has “grown” enough. One less program to manage is always nice for an Android user like me, and an even bigger blessing for those using iOS, which does not support Flash.

I am quite interested to see how Chrome’s app store and other such platforms develop as more applications appear for HTML5. I have been looking into mobile application development, but it might turn out that developing for HTML5 would be better in the long run. Android and iOS both have fantastic application distribution systems with a gigantic amount of users, which is rather enticing. Still, there is a challenge when it comes to distributing to both systems, and sticking to only one may be foolhardy. When a quality app appears for only one operating system, there are usually countless requests for it to be ported to the other, which of course would mean more revenue for the developers. Decisions, decisions.

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