Survey: Most Developers Now Prefer HTML5 For Cross-Platform Development

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According to a new survey commissioned by Telerik’s Kendo UI, the majority of developers now prefer to work with HTML5 instead of native apps for their cross-platform development. Half of the 5,000 developers surveyed in the company’s 2013 Global Developer Survey also said that they developed apps using HTML5 in 2012 and 90% of them plan to do so in 2013. Only 15% of developers said they would prefer to use a native-only approach.

The idea behind the survey, Kendo UI’s VP of the company’s HTML5 web and mobile division Todd Anglin told me last week, was to understand how developers are working with HTML5 and what kinds of apps they are developing.

The company, however, also looked at the larger HTML5 ecosystem and found, for example, that most developers said they were interested in developing for Windows 8 (66%) – something Microsoft will likely be happy to hear – and ChromeOS (47%), but weren’t all that interested in Blackberry 10 (13%) and Tizen (8%). It’s worth noting that this preference doesn’t always result in actual products getting shipped. Many of these developers are probably working for larger corporations that don’t give them the flexibility to develop in the languages they would like to.

Kendo UI surveyed about 5,000 developers from around the world for this survey over the course of January 2013. Most of the developers worked for small and medium businesses (51%) , 29% worked for startups and 20% for enterprises. Given that these developers were likely already interested in HTML5 before they took the survey, chances are the results are somewhat biased toward HTML5.

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Interestingly, the developers surveyed by Kendo UI also said that Blackberry and iOS are the most difficult platforms to develop for. Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 ranked as the easiest with Android falling in the middle. As Anglin noted, the reason for this could be the fact that developers can use HTML5 to write apps for the Windows platforms, but also that Microsoft provides a very robust set of tools for its developer ecosystem.

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As for the kinds of HTML5 apps developers are working on, the survey found a clear emphasis on productivity apps (54%) and utilities (38%). Entertainment, lifestyle, travel apps and games ranked at the bottom of the list.

Given these results, it’s no surprise that most developers also told the researchers that they thought the most important modern web technologies right now include forms and validation, databases and flexible layouts (grids, flexbox, etc.)

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