To casual observers, that makes sense. HTML5 is roaring to the forefront of development far faster than industry predictions. We even saw some commercial proof of the platform’s “Write Once, Run Anywhere” promise in 2012. To seasoned Windows developers, though – particularly those building enterprise apps in dedicated Microsoft shops – it crushed their world. After spending decades learning to use different languages and development environments – most recently Microsoft’s proprietary but feature-rich WPF and Silverlight – the thought of jumping ship for HTML5 was devastating.
Microsoft has backpedaled in a number of forums since then, assuring developers that while HTML5 is the new standard for cross-platform apps, other tools will continue to work for Windows-only development. But the writing is on the wall. HTML5 is the future, so if you develop enterprise Windows applications, should you bite the bullet and make the move?
Will HTML5 Save Enterprises Money?
“Serious Coders” vs. “Script Kiddies”
His biggest problem so far is a reluctance to embrace change. “I have a couple 28-year-olds who act like grumpy old men, afraid that the ‘script kiddies’ without any real computer science knowledge are moving in on their turf. To them, HTML5 cheapens the application, dumbs down their resumes, and opens the door to a whole lot of bad coding from people who know how to make Web pages, but don’t have any formal experience with structured coding.”
What Do Developers Want?
One long-time C++ and (more recently) C# developer wasn’t excited about the rise of HTMLt5: “Eh. I get what they’re doing. It’s all about the portability of UI. They’ve been on that path for a long time, but whatever. The thing is, developers don’t want to learn a new markup when Microsoft has already forced them to learn one recently. WPF / Silverlight is crap, but so was Winforms. If they’d skipped WPF, they’d probably have more success trying to get people to shift to HTML5… I’ll go where the money is, though.”
That last point is telling. Developers will follow the work, they really don’t have a choice. And that it won’t be long before everyone will be doing at least some work in HTML5. Smart enterprises will be begin mixing in some of that work now makes sense, but there’s not yet good reasons for a complete shift.