Mobile Development with HTML5: How does it Work?

Lately, different organizations resort to HTML5 mobile applications on their approach of mobile application deployment to help them reduce cost and complexity.

Under the right circumstances, HTML5 apps can be a simple alternative for the development of native applications, especially as more HTML5 development frameworks are created. If your organization needs mobile applications that work across multiple platforms, you should consider using HTML5.

The only differences that a user will perceive between a mobile application and its web version are that the app is launched from an icon on the desktop, and it does not have a navigation bar. A developer, however, will face a more complex scenario:

HTML5 Hybrid Applications

The most common current approach to turning a web application into a mobile one or develop a mobile app with HTML5 is to use a tool such as Cordova or Titanium. These bundle all the code of the former into an application that we can sell in the app stores. These apps are called hybrids, as they are developed with HTML5, but they have a wrapper of the device’s native code. Hybrid apps execute HTML5 within a browser and allow access to hardware features that regularly can’t be accessed with web apps.

Pure HTML5 Applications

All websites will soon be installed as apps directly from the browser, without the need of appearing in the Google Play or Apple store. This is called pure HTML5 applications. They have been used in iOS over the last couple of years thanks to a specification published by Apple. In Android, you can do the same since Google Chrome’s 31 version.

HTML5 vs. Native Code

The biggest benefit of HTML5 apps is that they can run on all devices, while you would have to rewrite the code for each one if you had native applications. This would be a recurring thing as it is not only required to publish the app but for every change made on it.

HTML5’s main issues are the lack of extended support of its new specifications in browsers and that the native apps will always outperform them. However, as new specification updates become familiar to all browsers, HTML5 minimizes the costs of developing and maintaining multiplatform applications. Additionally, HTML5 development will allow you to have a website that is, at the same time, a mobile application.

HTML5 is already being used in apps where performance is not especially critical, and access to certain functionalities is not needed. But as HTML5 improves, fewer native apps will be created. In the future, pure HTML5 applications could potentially be included in the most significant app marketplaces (Google Play and App Store), as it is already the case with some apps in the Firefox and Google Chrome app market.


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