I have always wondered why businesses are so keen on mobile Apps. They spend significant sums of money developing a bit of software that will only run on a single phone platform – iPhone, Android, Symbian etc. and then each application has to be fine tuned for individual phone or iPads. It’s a nightmare.
Why not make a mini browser version of the application and run that on any Smart phone using the built in web browser. After all that was the whole point of developing the html programming language in the first place, so as to make applications platform independent? Up until recently the techie response has always been that the phone apps run much quicker and more smoothly and the web versions are clunky. This is certainly true, but I am not sure whether it has more to do with the fact that companies are prepared to provide far larger Budgets for brand new state of the art Apps, than they will provide for the provision of mini browser developments….
Now we have HTML5 rapidly becoming a new standard. The HTML5 standard is not yet finalised but the outstanding issues are mainly in areas around the handling of sound, video and data caching. It is very likely that this will get over all the technical differences that differentiate the browser performance from the App. And how common are HTML5 enabled browsers? So far they includes the latest versions of IE9, Chrome, Firefox and Safari which means that most Smart phones are already compliant.
Writing an HTML5 version of your website for a mobile phone requires most of the same considerations as writing an App:
- Design for a small screen and with easy data input
- Enable the special controls available in each phone (GPS, touch screen controls etc)
- Manage the data caching to cope with intermittent signals etc (not standard in all HTML5 implementations)
- Manage the data communications with the master web server using Jason queries to keep data transfers efficient
But once it is done, it should work on most phones with only minor tweaks.
Let’s get back to delivering a greater degree of cross platform compatibility.