You’ve read about the rise of HTML5 in mobile application development and maybe it made you wonder why people still design apps for specific platforms. After all, if your app can go out to Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and iOS users through the power of HTML5, why bother with other application development methods? HTML5 is fantastic, but there are plenty of good reasons to design apps for specific platforms.
First, HTML5 is still not a formal standard. It’s a great update to HyperText Markup Language, but it’s not 100 percent consistent between browsers and runtimes; it’s also not 100 percent understood how it can be used yet. It’s good to push the boundaries of web and application design, but when you’re working on an app you may have other priorities.
Concerns like excellent 3D animation, application design, and marketing should take top billing over exploring the limits of HTML5 (at least while you’re designing your app). Focusing on the cool new features present in HTML5 isn’t going to make your app better; if anything, focusing on HTML5 instead of your app will split your focus. You’re not hoping to see HTML5 go viral– you want to see your app on every smartphone and tablet.
Next, HTML5 is less able to take advantage of platform or device-specific features. This means that the user experience may suffer somewhat, since native apps will be designed with one kind of user in mind while an HTML5 app must be generic to cater to everyone.
In other words, you can only use features that every platform supports if you use HTML5 to deploy your app to every user. If an iOS user is familiar with iOS interface and apps, then your app may feel strange or unwieldy to that user when it is released via HTML5. An app that doesn’t resonate with a user may be one that is rarely opened or, worse, uninstalled.
While HTML5 apps are less expensive than creating the same program to run as a native app on multiple platforms, your mileage may vary. A well-designed app is going to generate more buzz than an app that doesn’t satisfy customers. It may be difficult to reach those customers with an HTML5 app because, at this time, the top app stores are iOS, Amazon and Google Play - none of which are HTML5 app stores.
While many are positive about the rise of HTML5 apps, there’s no reason to think native apps will go the way of the dinosaur anytime soon. HTML5 brings a lot of great things to the table and will provide lots of benefits for mobile device users. It’s new, it’s exciting, but it just isn’t the only fish in the sea.
Zco Corporation is a custom software company with headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA specializing in mobile app development, enterprise software, and 3D animation.
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