Home What Is the Best Mobile Platform for HTML5 Development?

What Is the Best Mobile Platform for HTML5 Development?

The focus of the mobile world has turned to HTML5. Right now, HTML5 is positioning itself to be the No. 3 mobile platform behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and we will see that evolution take place over the next couple of years. HTML5 runs besides these platforms through the mobile browser. That begs the question: which major mobile platform has the best toolset for HTML5 integration?

Every one of the major platform providers will say that they have the best system for HTML5. Research In Mobile will push it with BBX and its acquisition of Torch Mobile. WebOS has long claimed to have a great mobile browser. Microsoft has a good browser with Internet Explorer 10 for Windows Phone that will come with Windows 8. Really though, when it comes to HTML5, Apple’s iOS 5 likely takes the cake.

What Is The Best? Sencha Quantifies

Developer framework and tool provider Sencha went about quantifying how well iOS 5 handles HTML5. Sencha does this with every new platform and major device launch and has reviewed the iPad 2, BlackBerry PlayBook, HP TouchPad, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab (the old Froyo seven inch version), Samsung Bada and IE10. Check out its full list of reviews here.

IE10 got good reviews from Sencha while Android has not been known for desired capabilities for HTML5. It will be interesting to see how Torch carries RIM through HTML5, as the company is now focusing on integrating both HTML5 and native properties into BBX.

It stands to reason that the newer reviews will receive a better scorecard. There have been a lot of updates to both HTML5 and the hardware/software since Sencha started issuing these scorecards. Yet, Apple has long been considered the cream of the crop for HTML5 integration because of both the tools for iOS and how closely the hardware is tied to the software. The fundamental aspect of HTML5 Web apps is in the browser and mobile Safari is considered by many to be the top of the field in that vertical as well.

Sencha’s Findings

Here is what Sencha found when it tore down iOS 5 looking for HTML5 capabilities.

Fast and smooth hardware accelerated CSS3 transitions and animations. The Sencha Animator rendered at a higher frame-rate than any other mobile device the company has seen.

Canvas is fast. Canvas on iOS 5 is 5-8 times fater than with iOS 4.x. The improvement for gaming purposes is significant and one of the reasons that Apple showed off games like Infinity Blade 2 during the iPhone 4S announcement. It is much better and enables games like Modern Combat 3 capable of dynamic experiences on the iPad.

WebGL is (kind of) supported. WebGL can be used in iAd but cannot be used in mobile Safari. This may be one spot where Apple falls behind the rest of the ecosystem that is actively implementing WebGL with HTML5 whereas Apple’s closed system only allows part of its funcationality.

CSS is better with iOS 5. In terms of UI, this is what is going to help Web apps running in mobile Safari feel like native apps, especially with scrolling capabilities.

WebWorkers helps tie iOS 5 to backend systems. This will probably provide a boon to startups working on backend functionality like StackMob, Parse and Kinvey.

HTML5 form fields are supported. According to Sencha, “This is great for an HTML5 developer because iOS now opens the appropriate on-screen keyboard based on the input tag type.”

There is a reason why developers target iOS with HTML5 first before moving to other platforms. For instance, it is no coincidence that HTML5 developers at appMobi released MobiUs first to iOS and are coming with Android later this year. If HTML5 becomes a major platform player, the trend of developers going to mobile Safari first may put a damper on the prospects of other platforms, notably RIM.

What do you think is the best platform for HTML5 development? Let us know in the comments.

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