UPDATED 11:00 EDT / APRIL 05 2012

HTML5 Needs Frameworks to Transition Developers, Users into Mobile Future

HTML5 is said to be “the one” that would dominate all forms of computer language from desktops to mobile devices, toppling Flash along the way.  Back in November, Adobe pulled the plug on their Flash for mobile to focus on HTML5, which was a hard pill to swallow since the late Steve Jobs was never really a fan of Flash, stating that HTML5 was the solution for everything and influencing the mobile sector’s perspective of Flash overall.

Though it seems Flash is already in its final stages life, some believe that HTML5 still has a lot of maturing to do.  A recent infographic released depicts how Flash still beats HTML5 in performance, and that only the latest version of the Chrome browser is the single browser with game-worthy HTML5 sound support.  And there are still more games made for Flash than HTML5.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) aims to have HTML5 standardized and approved by 2014.  That’s still a couple of years away but for now, let’s look at some of the developments surrounding HTML5.

Mozilla’s mobile browser projects improve gaming and real-time interactions

Mozilla Foundation, one of the early advocates of HTML5, released BrowserQuest, a massive multiplayer online (MMO) game written in HTML5, JavaScript and other open source languages.

“BrowserQuest is a showcase of how open Web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript, CSS(cascading style sheets) and WebSockets can be used to create a multiplayer game that scales up to thousands of users,” said Christian Heilmann, principal developer evangelist at Mozilla.

BrowserQuest is powered by HTML5 WebSockets, allowing players to chat with each other in real time without generating a lot of network traffic and latency.  BrowserQuest also includes the following technologies: HTML5 Canvas, which powers the game’s 2D tile-based graphics engine; Web Workers, which is JavaScript executed from an HTML page and lets the servers initialize the game’s large world map without slowing down the homepage user interface; localStorage, which continually saves the progress of players’ characters; and HTML5 audio.

“Its main purpose is to prove that the Web is a platform for gaming as much as it is a platform for apps and documents,” Heilmann continued. “It also shows that JavaScript can be used server-side with node.js to allow for scalable architectures without resorting to non-Web technologies and plugins.”

HTML5-based building tools help developers transition

Certainly mobile browsing is an important aspect of HTML5’s development, but it’s only a portion of the larger industry impact of this growing developer standard.  When it comes to developing frameworks around HTML5 for the developer community, several companies are offering up tools that enable a DIY platform for adopting HTML5 trends.

Usablenet is one that works with some big brands to create a web and mobile presence for a cross-platform and cross-device strategy.  HTML5 is the bridging factor between the many points of access a brand approaches for end user interaction, and in developing that framework around HTML5 technology, Usablenet is one of the many companies providing the tools that will be key in bringing about those much needed HTML5 standards.

“What you’ll see in the next year to two years are the platforms that developers will lean on for HTML5 frameworks for mobile and tablets,” says Usablenet head of platform strategy Jason Taylor.  “If you consider technology for building websites, you can make a mobile website using HTML, HTML5 and Java today.

“As far as frameworks go, we have one we give to clients where developers can add different types of transitions, carousels and orientations for a range of mobile devices.  Building a website for a computer, there’s only one thing you have to do–browser sizes are pretty standard and the interactive input is the mouse.  HTML5 frameworks allow developers to benefit from widgets developed by others.”

Wix.com is another that lets you create, design and customize your own beautiful website without any coding knowledge or skills, recently unveiled a new HTML5-based website builder.”The web is a highly dynamic sphere where business opportunities are endless. As new technologies are introduced and internet consumption evolves, Wix was able to build a HTML5 product that uses the full capabilities of current web browsers,” said Avishai Abrahami, Wix’ CEO and Co-founder.

Powering a new workspace

Ericom Software, a global provider of Application Access and Virtualization solutions, recently announced the general availability of the new version of their HTML5-based RDP client – Ericom AccessNow version 2.0 which provides browser-based access to applications and desktops running on Windows Terminal Services / RDS, virtual desktops on Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESX and other hypervisors, and VDI platforms including VMware View, Quest vWorkspace and Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect.

“This new release of our zero-client, browser-based RDP client represents a major leap forward in extending and underscoring our technological leadership in this market,” said Eran Heyman, Ericom Founder and CEO.

“AccessNow version 2.0 demonstrates Ericom’s vision of high performance, any-device, anywhere access to hosted Windows desktops and applications, and enables and accelerates the adoption of BYOD and other advanced working modalities and trends.” Heyman concluded, “Last but not least, AccessNow empowers DaaS providers to deliver Cloud-based virtual desktops anywhere and on any device, and enables ISVs to easily SaaS-enable their Windows applications for the Cloud.”

With its ability to span mobile devices and PCs, HTML5 has a place in consumer and enterprise applications with a penchant for flexible positioning and use cases.  And while it’s a promising technology, its maturation depends on a variety of developments and the ongoing support and exploration of companies like Usablenet and Mozilla.  It’s enabling a familiar transition into the world of mobility, carrying with it the expectations of developers and publishers that have grown accustom to a worldwide web revolving around a universal computing experience, helping us all readily adopt a future where multiple capabilities are not only expected but accounted for.

Contributors: Mellisa Tolentino

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