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HTML5 On The Rise: No Longer Ahead Of Its Time

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) declaring the HTML5 standard complete, a significant milestone in the history of the Internet and web application development. In this past year, HTML5 adoption has gone into overdrive, with more and more companies moving to HTML5 to deliver rich cross-platform web applications. The most recent examples include Amazon, Facebook, Google and YouTube, which transitioned from Adobe’s Flash to HTML5. Why is that? And why now?

For years, millions of developers have standardized their application development on HTML5 to meet business demand for a seamless and superior user experience across all devices and screens. But in 2015, HTML5 has really emerged as a reliable and universal choice for building enterprise-class software that companies can use to deliver rich, web experiences, as they continue to move toward a mobile-first strategy.

The power of HTML5 has been clear for a long time. In 2012, industry influencer Mark Zuckerberg gave it flack, only to change his story three years later, adopting HTML5 technology to beef up Facebook’s news feed (see our demo in this side-by-side comparison).

There are three concurrent industry trends driving this shift toward web application adoption and HTML5 development…

Technical Innovation Is, Finally, Catching Up

The transition to HTML5 is powered not only by the continuous performance and feature innovation in the programming language itself, but also by the improvements in modern browsers in which web apps run. Browsers are now significantly faster than just a few years ago. Once dominated by Microsoft Internet Explorer, browsers such as Google Chrome are forcing the market to develop faster and more efficient solutions. With the fading of Flash, HTML5’s rich multimedia capabilities are capturing developer’s attention as they can perform tasks within the browser’s basic functionality — features that in the past required users to download and install plug-ins.

In this perfect intersection of technical innovation, developer preference and enterprise need, I’m both hopeful and excited about what HTML5 will enable in the years ahead.

Another technical innovation driving the adoption of HTML5 is the processing performance of mobile devices, like Samsung’s smartphones that have an impressive 8-core processor.

These technical advancements are harnessing the power and ubiquity of HTML5, making it the emerging standard in the enterprise.

Businesses Crave It

Organizations are under immense pressure to deliver highly sophisticated web and mobile applications to their customers. At the same time, customers expect to access these applications on a wide range of devices, including desktops, tablets and smartphones. Not only are customer expectations rapidly increasing, but so is the rate of change. To keep pace with industry demands, enterprises are investing in technologies that help them meet their customers’ cross-platform web and mobile application needs, both now and in the future.

With its write once, deploy anywhere capabilities, HTML5 empowers companies to design, build and manage apps with greater sophistication and complexity across multiple platforms and devices in the same amount of time.

Developers Won’t Live Without It

Even as the digital environment gains complexity and sophistication, development teams remain under constant pressure to deliver complex apps, faster. That’s why they are opting for HTML5, as illustrated by a recent Strategy Analytics survey on mobile application developers’ preferences and attitudes toward app development. Researchers found that out of all the technologies for building native or web apps, HTML5 showed the strongest predicted growth at 20 percent, with 63 percent of all business apps being created in HTML5.

For developers, one key attraction to HTML5 is its open standards support, which helps them deliver on application requirements in the face of fragmented mobile devices, form factors, platforms and operating systems. Developers can use HTML5 to create and present rich content without relying on the device or its operating system, making it a preferred alternative to native.

If given the choice, developers have always preferred coding in a language that translates across platforms — both to ensure a quality user experience on multiple screen sizes and to maintain a skill set that’s applicable for different employers and development requirements. Web app development will continue to accelerate as JavaScript programmers move to HTML5.

Looking Ahead: HTML5 In 2016 And Beyond

As someone who has spent years on the front line with development teams, I am thoroughly impressed by HTML5 and the revolutionizing force it has had on mobile app development. In this perfect intersection of technical innovation, developer preference and enterprise need, I’m both hopeful and excited about what HTML5 will enable in the years ahead.

In the next year, I believe that adoption of HTML5 will grow as enterprises begin to modernize their legacy mandated use of Internet Explorer, allowing employees to also use Chrome or Firefox browsers at work — both of which have superior HTML5 support. And down the road, as adoption for Windows 10 grows, the new Microsoft Edge browser will enable businesses to take full advantage of the power of HTML5.