HTML5 for Mobility: Don’t Just Embrace It — Enhance It

Published on: June 18, 2012

There is an undeniable momentum behind HTML5 as a means of creating mobile apps. Research firm IDC predicts that by 2015, 80 percent of mobile apps will be based wholly or in part on HTML5 — the next generation of hypertext markup language (HTML), the standard language for Web apps.

HTML5 holds major benefits for mobile development, starting with the fact that organizations can tap their existing HTML talent for mobility projects. And as mobile apps get built with HTML5, reusing some of that content for Web sites becomes possible. No wonder firms such as IDC are predicting that by next year, there will be more than 1 billion HTML5-capable browsers in use, worldwide.

But for enterprise mobile app development to be highly efficient, and the apps themselves functional and secure, there exists a host of “below the waterline” features that HTML5 doesn’t fully deliver, but can be found in an enterprise mobility platform. This includes capabilities such as integration to back-end enterprise systems, the ability to manage apps centrally and deploy change instantaneously, as well as owning a platform that lets you develop native apps for multiple device platforms, rapidly and efficiently.

The central question with HTML5 for mobility is how to get the best of both worlds: the efficiency, security, and back-end functionality of an enterprise mobility platform, and the ability to leverage Web talent and content wrapped up in the movement toward HTML5. In essence, mobility platform vendors and users should look not just to embrace HTML5, but enhance it. You can enhance it by allowing HTML5-based mobile content to run in concert with native apps built on a proven mobility platform, taking full advantage of the platform’s integration, security, and management capabilities.

There will be more than one valid approach to blending the two worlds. One way is to allow HTML content to run within native apps configured with a mobility platform. Also expect to see mobility platforms and the apps they generate become more at home in the HTML world, displaying and running within HTML5 browsers, or running side by side as components, and communicating seamlessly. Platform development environments also will become more open to JavaScript, which is so widely used in Web development.

The real key is to blend the two worlds without losing the strengths of the platform when it comes to areas such as integration to back end systems, encrypted security, or instant, centralized change management. At the same time, HTML5 excels in areas such as rich animations and graphics, and powerful ties to HTML-based social media. Perhaps first and foremost with HTML5 is that as the progression of HTML, it carries forward a vast ecosystem of HTML developer know-how and content that enterprises can leverage.

Do you agree that it’s possible to both embrace HTML5 benefits and enhance it by blending it with a proven enterprise mobility platform?

Arun Nagarajan is the vice president of product architecture for Verivo Software.

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