HTML4, which is the standard that has guided web browser implementation for over a decade, is being replaced with HTML5. HTML4, together with JavaScript and CSS 2, made up the three foundation pillars that have defined websites for the last 10 years.In 2011 it is now the time to start looking at replacing HTML4 with HTML5, which brings various extensions to the current standards including: 1) the canvas object to handle drawing, and display, 2) media handling and in built video, 3) a far more powerful set of style rules in CSS3.Unfortunately at this point in time, there is a problem with desktop browsers as users often have old ones which do not comply with the newest standards. An important drawback of the CSS, HTML4 and JavaScript holy trinity, has been the lack of multimedia and animation integration. Although mootools and jquery JavaScript libraries address the animation issues to an extent, video has (in general) only been easily cross browser / cross platform achievable with Flash.Sites written with HTML5 only function on the newest releases of Opera, Safari or Firefox 4; IE 9 only partially implements the latest standards. However it does work on mobile internet devices; using compilers, HTML5 applications are cross compiled into iOS (iPhone), Android, Blackberry, and Windows mobile.One important bonus is that it functions in the world of smart phones and mobile internet devices. Mobile sites coded in HTML5 not only work on different handsets, but also have many new features.In addition to filling the gap currently patched by Adobe Flash technology, HTML5 introduces a whole new set of features in it own right, these include; 1) local data storage, 2) session storage, 3) SQL data storage.This mix of tools undoubtebly defines HTML5 as an application development platform, although even with the addition of this comprehensive client side toolset, a server side platform of some description (php, java or .net) will invariably be needed to create a complete application.HTML5 for Mobile InternetUnlike PCs (desktop computers), tablets/new technology phones invariably meet the latest standards and so HTML5 can be used in the fast growing world of the smartphone, examples are the Blackberry, iPhone(iOS) and Android based phones.Perhaps of even more significance is that HTML5 is the single standard that binds these differing technologies (e.g. the Android and iOS) together. Therefore mobile websites written in HTML5, not only have many new features but also function on different handsets.Cross Compiling HTML5 Applications.Whilst the use of HTML5 for mobile websites is in itself exceptionally good, there is an even more significant advantage; by using compilers, HTML5 apps. can be cross compiled to function efficiently on the Android, iPhone, Windows mobile and Blackberry.ConclusionEven though HTML5 may not be taking the desktop browser world by storm, it has precipated a total change in mobile app development. Not only does HTML5 lay down a very efficient and cost effective way to develop 'cross platform', but also greatly reduces the expense of app maintenance in a future proof way. Over 50% of all browsing will happen on a mobile device by the end of 2012 and mobile browsers are set to exceed desktop browsers by 2013. Companies like SEOCompany4 who are at the cutting edge of mobile app development are well placed for the future; having a mobile app or site today is as important as was a website in 2001.

Dave Martin is a technical consultant to SEOCompany4 who specialise in iphone development, android development and Drupal Web Design

 

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