Posted by:Ranjani Rao February 16th, 2012

With the mobile internet came better mobile browsers, faster processors, larger screens and innumerable mobile apps. The mobile era today is ruled by mobile apps but in truth, they don’t conform to the openness that is the ‘web.’ One app cannot work across multiple mobile operating systems or form factors; it has to be modified or rebuilt for each natively. Device manufacturers, too, monopolize the playing field with restrictive app development and distribution policies.

What’s needed is a unifying technology. That’s HTML5 – a language long purported by Steve Jobs as the ‘future of mobile web’ and the eventual driver of mobile internet innovation. Business rivals Google and Apple are adopting HTML5 with initiatives such as Mobile Google (Gmail written completely in HTML5), iAd, and YouTube using HTML5 video. Apple’s rigid stand on not supporting Adobe Flash on iOS devices has also catalyzed the move towards cross-platform HTML5.

The potential of HTML5

HTML5 enables developers to embed video and audio content into rich internet apps. Video and audio components can be controlled to a granular level that’s great for app developers wanting to use geo locations, camera images, or videos to personalize their apps. However, while some mobile browsers don’t support the HTML5 element, others support it but in their own way. In audio too, though HTML5 is highly capable, developers have to recode media to formats supported by mobile devices.

The HTML5 Canvas element is great for pixel manipulation and rendering stunning effects. HTML5 APIs and HTML5 elements together open up new opportunities and ideas for mobile apps. The plan is to have APIs for diverse mobile devices to maximize on HTML5 capabilities. HTML5 also supports local storage for application data, drag and drop elements, new form elements  such as date; time; and email, Web Workers for background or asynchronous processing, HTML5 and CSS3 structure and styling for layout, and more.

Check out popular HTML5 apps on OpenAppMkt such as YouTube, Google Voice, CheckList, The New York Times for iPad, Myousic.Me, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to grasp the potential of HTML5.

The reality of HTML5

HTML5 development involves the use of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to develop interactive and rich media. However, the combination cannot be compared with Flash capabilities as of now. Though web developers have launched impressive demos on HTML5 websites, the development process is slowed down by the lack of appropriate tools and the inability of existing tools to support complex multimedia. However, the gap between HTML 5capabilities, browser support, and development tools is getting smaller as HTML5 adoption progresses.

Some HTML5 frameworks in the market include Sencha Touch, M-Project, Titanium, jQTouch, jQuery Mobile, NimbleKit, and Wink. Adobe has recently released a preview of Adobe Edge – a new web motion and interaction design tool, with a UI similar to that used for Flash development. In its current state, the tool is light on features. Though it does take some of the pain out of JavaScript animations, it doesn’t quite compare as a professional development tool. But it’s early days yet.

The future of HTML5

Currently, HTML5 is supported by most mobile browsers on Blackberry 6, Symbian 3, MeeGo, WebOS, Bada, Android, Myriad ex-Openwave, BOLT, and iOS; and web browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. However, they support different things so HTML5 doesn’t look or run the same across. HTML5 support is also getting better with new releases of smartphones.

Going forward, browsers will offer uniform support for HTML5 elements. This move will be driven by the rise in HTML5 application development – an inevitable consequence of the interoperability and low development costs of the platform.

So, eager to learn why your business MUST take notice of Mobility ? Or want to decide which app is a right fit for your business? Download your choice !

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