Will HTML5 Make Apps Obsolete?

Development of HTML5 started in 2009 and was still going under development as late as October 2011. There is a lot of hype surrounding this newest version of HTML. Many game programmers are talking about how HTML5 is going to replace Flash and more complicated programming for gaming. Since HTML5 will work the same on smart phones as it does on a desktop or tablet, the question remains whether smart phone apps will become obsolete.

One thing to consider is whether consumers are still going to need to do what they currently do with their phones. An example would be a Weight Watcher’s application on the phone to calculate how many points are in a specific type of food or meal. A smart phone user that is trying to lose weight will still need to be able to figure out how many points are in her meal.

People aren’t going to want to change how they do things, so you might wonder where that leaves app developers. Just because a developer is no longer programming specifically for iOS or Android doesn’t mean that developer will be out of a job. Instead, app developers will need to adapt to the new HTML5 and CSS3 standards.

Will iOS or Android Stop Movement to HTML5?

Currently, iOS and Android both fully support HTML5 and CSS3. It is probable that these devices will continue to be at the forefront of the HTML5 revolution, though online game programmers will run a close second. With HTML5, programmers can develop full games, including online multiplayer games with graphics and sound that are rendered without Flash. Hard-core gamers will need to seriously consider how well they can play some of the more complicated games without a keyboard.

In addition to better graphic rendering, HTML5 allows for a host of other enhancements. Speed and functionality will be improved. Programs and web apps will work faster and more smoothly. Though not as obvious to the end-user, performance and connectivity will be improved as well.

Adapt or Become Obsolete

Those who currently work with iOS or Android will need to learn how to program with HTML5 and CSS3 if they don’t already know the syntax for these languages. Once a developer is familiar with the new standards, a single developer can devise web apps that work across all mobile platforms instead of programming for one specific mobile OS at a time. This can save time, and allow for more developers to work on more web apps.

There are already moves underway in the mobile developer community to adapt to the new programming standards. Websites such as phonegap.com have sprung up in answer to HTML5 and CSS3. Mobile developers can work with PhoneGap to deploy their phone apps across multiple platforms and operating systems.

Some web developers are embracing the changes to HTML. Many more are using the changes as HTML4 with some parts they don’t use, or HTML4+ where they use more than simple HTML4, but don’t fully embrace all aspects of HTML5. These partial uses are to some degree delaying full deployment of HTML5.

On the other hand, phone apps and game developers are leading the way. With HTML5, you can make all kinds of cool phone and web apps easily. In fact Adobe products like Dreamweaver CS5.5 and the beta release of Adobe EDGE have made it much easier to do so. Doing the same things with HTML4 was much more difficult and gave uneven results. In this situation, HTML5 is the winner hands-down and will continue to be embraced by more and more developers. So although the app and the app developer are both not obsolete, how you develop and deploy them is rapidly changing.

Peter Marino is the Senior Partner of reelWebDesign.com a web design and social media marketing firm in NYC. We make all of our new websites HTML5 compliant.Peter deployed his first Android app on the Android marketplace called ‘Swarm Knowledge’.

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