active discussion about the device's merits, a look at how it fails to encourage AR innovation and of course, this morning's announcement of a developer fund. Although it's exciting from a consumer standpoint, between the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and now the iPad, application developers have their work cut out for them. While consumers may flock to the new tablet, the thought of locking more developers into the purgatory of the Apple approval process is one that few will celebrate.The iPad has been this week's media darling with
Palm Dion Almaer is betting on web-based apps and HTML 5 to solve some of our concerns.With the caveat that there is no current "write once, run anywhere" solution to app development, Director of Developer Relations at
Says Almaer, "We can share a lot with the Web - take Gmail as an example. There isn't a true iPhone app, and it doesn't need one. The HTML5 rich app that uses local data and the like is great. The experience is slightly crippled, but to me it shows that the notion of "apps" and stores is restricted and probably wrong. I hope we get past app stores as we know them in the near future."
Developer Kevin Systrom opted to write his stealth-mode app in HTML 5 for a number of reasons. In addition to being able to develop for multiple devices and the fact that it offers instant deployment sans App Store, Systrom makes the case for HTML 5 in saying, "Hands down, the developer pool for HTML / JS rock stars is tenfold larger [and] there is no download attrition. You simply point people at a URL and there you go -- it's installed." The fact that apps can be directly installed by URL rather than by waiting for an App Store download means that developers reduce barriers to virality. As for downsides, explains Systrom, "Although there are many tricks that you can use to speed up apps, writing a native app will always have an advantage when it comes to responsiveness, etc. However, let's not forget that we saw this happen on the desktop, too. Then, as technology improved, consumers and businesses alike all flocked to web apps as they realized the advantages of building in the browser."
Google's Developer Relations Manager Patrick Chanezon lists a number of advantages to developing in HTML 5 for mobile devices namely that you can deploy roughly the same code base on all HTML5-ready phones and that you are not slowed down by the Apple vetting process. However, admits Chanezon, "The APIs are not all standardized in HTML 5 yet (the camera, mic, accelerometer or 3D), and not all HTML 5 is implemented completely on all phones yet." Nevertheless as more devices make webkit their browser of choice, Chanezon is convinced that HTML 5 will continue to build momentum.
While it's not perfect, HTML 5 might just be the step you need to decrease the time and cost of developing across devices.
For more information on HTML 5 and mobile development check out Peter Paul Koch's Mobile Compatibility Tables, the Google Code Chrome page, the Ajaxian blog, Mozilla Developer Center, Mark Pilgrim's Dive Into HTML 5, The Surfin' Safari WebKit Blog and JQTouch. As well, Chanezon's own Delicious account has a great selection of demos and articles.