4 Reasons Why HTML5 Will Dominate the Future

There is no doubt that HTML5 will play a critical and dominant role in the future of app development. As the number of devices and interfaces continue to explode, developing native apps will become a crippling endeavor. I am not saying all apps should be built exclusively using HTML5, but that HTML5 should seriously be considered for the bulk of the work, similar to current hybrid app models.

Here are my top 4 reasons to start looking into HTML5 and its associated web technologies for your next project

1. Devices and Interfaces will continue to proliferate

The biggest mistake people make, is to look at the debate through the guise of smartphone development. If you only look at mobile app development, then that argument makes sense, but we interact with technology and data beyond the small screen. There are new and exciting interfaces emerging that use HTML5 at its core, Smart TV, in car dash systems and Google Glass just to name a few.

2. Most apps do not need to be native

For the vast majority of apps, there is absolutely no reason to go native. If you objectively look at the apps in the app store, you be left starching your head wondering why they were written in IOS/Android. For example, a simple weather app can easily be written in HTML5, there is no inherent advantage to writing it natively.

3. Applications can be updated instantly

One of the biggest advantages to using HTML5, is that apps can be updated without approval. This allows bugs fixes and updates to be pushed silently and instantly. The release of IOS 7 drives home this point very well. App developers will have to redesign and redeploy their app, to support the new look and feel. If the core of the app was built using HTML, you could silently deploy an update to all your users. Another benefit is the ability to iterate and test. Trying to run a test natively is a very difficult and time consuming process.

4. HTML5 is closing the feature gap

Over the last couple of years, web technologies have closed the feature gap between native and web. For the vast majority of apps, HTML5 offers everything you need to build and run your app. I do understand that platform providers are constantly updating their APIs, but do you really need the 200+ new features in the latest IOS/Android release? I doubt it. There is going to come a point in time, where the number of new features released will trickle down to nothing, giving HTML5 the time needed to close the gap and reach feature parity.

As web technologies mature and get better, HTML5 will become the platform of choice for developers. It is just a matter of time until HTML5 development eclipses native app development, and that time is just around the corner.

-M

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12 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why HTML5 Will Dominate the Future

  1. Boz Bundalo

    nonsense.. don’t waste your time on HTML5 it’s a legacy technology that simply can’t keep up with technological progress.. by the time you will use all features of HTML5 the browser will be dead and we would have moved on to a completely different user experience paradigm where browser has zero reasons to exist and native applications rule.

    And developing in both I can vouch 100% that building native, even individually, for iOS and Android is a less of an ordeal than building with HTML5/JS due to simple fact that 80% of the development on native side is already done by the companies who bring you SDKs. You just use APIs and their tools to achieve things fast. And it will work absolutely best with the latest advancements on those mobile/smart OSs, battery life and many other things, not to mention it will be super smooth and flawless user experience.

    Stop wasting time hoping that a broken HTML legacy way of doing things and Javascript, a scripting language that’s 15 years old and was never meant for applications is going to somehow dominate everything.. it won’t.. I suggest you learn something else as future is just around the corner where browser and these legacy things will be completely irrelevant.

    And if you hope that Firefox OS or similar will “take over” and bring your hopes of HTML5 future, you are deluding yourself. They are dead in the water and the last hail mary at the companies pushing it (like Mozilla) who sees that browser is dead over the long run and needs to try to create a new platform where they would ensure their existence. They are failing miserably.

    Reply
    1. Aaron McLeod (@agmcleod)

      Objective-C wasnt constructed for mobile apps either, but they added features and new APIs to the language to make it work. Javascript has evolved a lot in 15 years, and so has the web in general. I agree that it shouldn’t be considered the end all solution to everything. Figure out what works best for you, and go with that. I’ve been building simple games in HTML5, and i love it, but i’ve been tempted to build a really simple iOS app lately, just to try out the SDK some more, and get something real done with it. Maybe explore spritekit or opengles with it at some point as well. Or load up Java and build a game with libgdx+robovm.

      One other thing to consider with HTML5 is there are tools like phonegap and trigger IO that also bring you the APIs. However, I’d argue that if you really want to take use of native API functionality, then you’re probably better off going native, simply because they’ll be better supported, and will probably be more reliable. The HTML5 ones you have the benefit of just learning 1 API, rather than 1 per platform, but depending on your usecase, it can be limiting.

      Reply
    2. Jeff Greenberg

      It’s so nice to make arguments based on opinion and state them as facts. So easy, eh?

      1) You seem to be conflating apps with the technology used to create them. While it remains to be seen what happens to browsers per se, the technologies and languages that power the web (JS, HTML5, CSS) are a separate issue. This may not be exactly what browser proponents want to hear either, that the browser is not likely to be central anymore, but, again, this does not speak directly to web technologies which, despite the bitching and moaning of different narrow groups of developers, keep growing in power and popularity. They ain’t perfect, for sure, but a lot of developers sure seem to get shit done with them.

      2) Technological progress? Seriously? So writing native applications using (sometimes nice and sometimes not) SDKs for multiple platforms/versions/devices (not just “iphone” and “android”), delivering and managing them separately is just flat out better? Here’s a newsflash: sure, *maybe* native apps will win, but it’s no mistake that more and more vendors and more third party companies are offering app builders and, (gasp), shockingly, ways to create native apps using web technologies. Though you may like developing in Objective-C, C++ or Java, there is a huge number of developers who don’t.

      3) On noes! Javascript is fifteen years old! Why, why… that’s ancient! Except, of course, that the native technologies you are using are even older. And JS/CSS and company keep getting faster *and* more powerful while still being easier to use. Sure, JS had a lot of warts. Most of those are gone, and a growing cadre of developers like to use it server-side with node.js as well, so it only makes sense for them to use it across the board. And the old DOM worries are now (mostly) forgotten, not to mention newer rendering technologies becoming available.

      4) Ah, the future. So bright and shiny. No web technologies anywhere and apps as far as the eye can see! Ok, the following is just my opinion, but if you think that siloed native apps are the future, I think you are a poor student of history and technology. While it is unclear exactly how things will shake out, you can bet that if the web as we know it fades into obscurity, OS vendors and device manufacturers will end up recreating a half-assed version of it anyway because it offers so many advantages for deployment, updates and speed of iteration, not to mention ‘openness’. Sure, maybe nothing will come of Firefox OS. But remember… initially Steve Jobs and Apple wanted to use web tech to create apps. The tech wasn’t up to it at the time, but there were compelling reasons then to go the web tech route, and there are compelling reasons now.

      Reply
    3. Nitij

      I doubt that browsers are going to be extinct any time soon, but I can surely say that right now the so called technological progress is happening mostly in the web technologies(both hardware and software).
      On a side note, html 5 is browser based and it is there to get a subset of things done so it is foolish to have some out of the box unrealistic expectations from that.

      Reply
    4. Phil LaNasa (@SiteKickr)

      I disagree with your disagreement ;) I personally can’t see how native apps will survive another 2 years. With mobile browsers gradually adopting new features introduced to HTML 5 (video capture, network, etc), I can’t imagine native apps being useful for anything but the most performance intensive games.

      Reply
  2. laurentcaillette

    C’mon, man, I heard it for 15 years: native apps are dead and so on… For now we have suboptimal animations that only run on the latest version of Chrome, multithreading is a joke, and accessing local files a namelss pain. In 5 years I’m pretty sure that HTML 5 will fix this (still only in the latest version of some Web browser of course) but native platforms will have evolved, too.

    Your are focusing on “new” features but you don’t see what exists out of HTML 5. How about running a local Web server on some client? Accessing to USB hardware? Using a real programming language that goes really fast?

    Remember that fundamental vision of HTML is to offer device-independant approach to text-based documents. HTML 5 overextends this approach at a very weird point. The killer feature of the Web browser is the sandboxing, compared to Windows’ security vacuum. Now that iOS and Android get serious with sandboxing, HTML 5 is just a cheap multiplatform layer.

    Reply
  3. zoomclub

    I agree 100%, there are now many projects under way that will bring HTML5 into line with native performance and features, there is no stopping it. Both iOS and Android development paradigms are from the last decade, there is less and less need to rely on their ways of doing it. You, as individual developers with vested interest in historic platforms can yelp as loud as you like but the big corporations are putting the muscle behind today’s and most certainly tomorrow’s HTML5 platform, bending time and space into a better universe where innovation can prosper. Hurray for progress and delivery from narrow minded walled garden building oppressors.

    Reply
  4. Andrei

    the day when the big mobile share holders, currently either Apple or Google, create a new development platform based on HTML (not replacing, but an alternative to native), similar to what Microsoft did with Windows 8, it would significantly put HTML as the first option to mobile development.

    Reply
  5. gaubee

    Comments of the first good cruel, but I still think that Firefox OS and Chrome OS is valuable, We need a more far-sighted way to think about a WebApp, simple HTML 5 + js technology is a doesn’t mean anything, but the technology is not isolated development alone.
    Maybe the Personal Cloud is a good gazebo.
    As for the performance, such as 3D games. We don’t need to kill native applications isn’t it.
    But WebGL or good performance, the hardware is cheaper and cheaper, I believe in the power of Moore’s law.

    Reply

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