Posted by Nicole Hambleton / Article /

58 % in Asia Pacific, 43% in the US and 39% of developers in Europe, Middle East and Africa are using HTML5 now.

HTML has always been important, it is the fundamental language of the web and has undergone several evolutions on it’s way to HTML5. Most non-technical people see it as the groundwork for basic functionality and not overly exciting, but HTML5 is more than just the window dressing.

Online media is diversifying and growing at an unprecedented way with mainstream adoption of interactive technologies. Front end code is more important than ever, with digital technologies now moving past the humble computer screen, XHTML and HTML predecessors are out of their depth.

The adoption rate is steadily climbing and it’s application becoming more diverse. Use of HTML5 is highest in the Asia Pacific region, but growing globally.

The web is also no longer just about websites, it’s about an interactive digital society that is maturing, growing and evolving; interaction is key. The industry, including Hambo is moving forward in front end development with HTML5. Our experienced front end team have been working with it for a while. While some might see if as just another evolution in front end code, it really is so much more, harnessing the power to develop interactive, cross browser, cross device websites and applications seamlessly.

Compatibility

Consistency and accessibility are bug bears for a lot of developers when it comes to displaying the same site across a variety of platforms. The good news is that nearly all browsers already have HTML5 compatibility installed. This includes most hand held devices such as tablets and smartphones. This makes cross browser compatibility easier to ensure resulting in less browser rendering bugs.

When websites were born, they were viewed on a PC, with only a small range of operating systems and browsers. As the web grew more browsers evolved and this caused some headaches for developers and confusion for clients as to the disparity between two computers. However the browser and device options have exploded in recent years and are set to increase even more with both larger and smaller devices requiring connectivity. You have to think past the computer screen or even just the mobile. Think tablet, smart tv, sat nav system, fridge, in-store display, POS systems & billboards. Devices everywhere are looking for connectivity to online digital world and this means that applications and websites need to deliver the compatibility for such a huge range of devices. HTML5 is just the start but it is definitely a solid starting point.

Apple, Google and Microsoft all support HTML5, which is an indication that it’s high adoption rate has made it fairly mainstream now.

Flash Alternative

Most mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones don’t support Flash, or purposely have it disabled. It can be slow to load and not ideal for a limited screen size. However interactivity is still important for mobile and tablet platforms. HTML5 combined with other complementary technologies provide an alternative to Flash that complements browsers from desktops through to mobile devices.

The late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs said that Apple devices would not support Flash on its mobile devices. For these devices HTML5 is one of the ways forward to allow the user to play with interactivity. Apple isn’t the only technology platform company that is moving to HTML5, Microsoft also supports it’s developers using HTML5.

While Flash will still exist for a little while during the transition period most people agree that HTML5 and other complementary technologies will eventually take over most of the functionality which Flash is used for. An innovative new technology is HTML5-canvas combined with Javascript which is demonstrating a very real alternative to Flash. See some examples  here of HTML5 Canvas.

In fact a lot of the big brands are now converting existing Flash sites to HTML5 to demonstrate the same behaviour on a breadth of platforms without degradation. You’d be amazed at what HTML5 can now do, where Flash was once king.

Interactivity & Apps

The second point leads us to this point, interactivity. As we said in our intro, the web is a tool that people are not content to just look at, they want both interaction and response. The key word is tool, which implies that it is something that people use to produce an outcome. Long gone are the days when people were happy just to ‘surf’ a site. They want to touch the screen, swipe it, move things around, drop and drag, speak to it, watch video, listen to audio, create animations and share with family and friends. HTML5 makes it easier for developers to further develop web API’s that allow mobile web to become more accessible and interactive.

This is getting increasingly more important as the mobile web explodes in popularity. With the rise in popularity of the tablet, smartphone and possibly smart tv / sat navigation systems and other appliances, interactivity is high on the list of requirements for digital technologies. In fact here at Hambo we are now capable of developing for devices such as the SmartTV, which we suspect will be a growing trend.

HTML5 can also be used as an alternative to a native mobile or web app if the specification allows it. This can offer a cost effective solution for targeting multiple devices without having to create separate codebases for each. This may not be suitable for complex applications or games, but for a lot of smaller applications it can be a viable consideration. For some applications a HTML5 web app is the perfect solution as it automatically bridges the device gap, meaning a larger audience can be targeted from the start.

Caching

While most of us are now connected to some sort of network most of the time these days, there are still times where a network is inaccessible. This can cause frustration for a society used to being connected. Using HTML5, you can create offline versions of a website to view when you are out of range (good for mobile web). While connected the site downloads using HTML5 script and is saved like a personal database, that way if go offline the entire webpage you were viewing is still available to you. More users now expect this type of technology when using their mobile devices.

Audio and Video Support

Sight and sound are important elements of modern sites and API’s. A recent survey by MeFeedia, a video search engine, indicated that 69% of web videos are available in an HTML5 format. HTML5 eliminates the need to install a third party plug-in to view a video or audio file. The browser supports HTML5 and all the developer needs to do is define the files in the audio or video tags.

Speed

Even if all of that didn’t impress you, HTML5 works well with several tools for the output of audio, video, animations and other interactive displays. Who doesn’t like their site to load faster!

Have a look at some of these examples of HTML5.

A lot of creatives are already using or requesting that sites be built using HTML5 but not everyone is familiar with the breadth of it’s application and what can be achieved with this mark up language.

If any of these points sparked any interest, let us know and we can explain further. Interactivity and cross device / browser compatibility can be achieved in front end code and to complement the chosen platform. Isn’t it nice when technologies just play well together?

Sources:
Adoption rate source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/15co7)
http://www.techopedia.com/2/28138/development/web-development/moving-from-flash-to-html5
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/daily_news/why-more-companies-are-moving-to-html5.html