(above image: Firefox OS icon grid – courtesy Mozilla. Original here)
By Matthew Dicks, Head of Marketing, BlueVia at Telefónica Digital
The mobile web must be open. It seems an obvious statement, one we have made many times before on this blog. Unfortunately, the myths surrounding HTML5 – the foundation of an open mobile web – threaten to slow its development.
One of the biggest myths is that it doesn’t give developers access to the underlying functionality of the mobile device. While this may be true of some platforms, with iOS for instance not giving access to the camera, address book or other functionality that developers are crying out for, Mozilla’s Web APIs have cracked this nut. These have been implemented by the Firefox OS.
This is a critical moment in the development of the open web and one that should be welcomed with open arms by any developer looking to break free of the constraints of current mobile ecosystems. It’s certainly needed.
A survey of over 3400 developers across Europe, Asia and the USA [Developer Economics 2013] published by Vision Mobile found HTML5 rocketing in popularity. Over 50% of developers are now using HTML5 to develop for mobile, rapidly catching up iOS at 61%.
However, the biggest area of concern for HTML5 developers was found to be access to native APIs, enabling apps to make use of the core functionality of the device. 35% of developers surveyed said that better native API access would make HTML5 a better development technology for mobile.
The launch of Firefox OS should help dramatically boost take up of HTML5 by developers by removing this hurdle. Some key findings from the report are:
The most popular app categories for HTML5 developers today, according to the Vision Mobile survey, are business and productivity (42% of HTML5 developers, enterprise (32%) and media (28%).
Cross-platform portability was found to be the biggest reason cited by developers for choosing HTML5, 56% of those surveyed, with low cost development second at 51%.
Tablets are becoming nearly as popular for developers as smartphones, with 76% of the developers surveyed working on content and services for the platform compared to 86% developing for smartphones.
The continued growth of tablet use among consumers and businesses is staggering and HTML5 is set to play a key role here in driving a transparent and open web experience. An HTML5 app, making use of responsive design, lets a user switch seamlessly between a PC to mobile to tablet web experience.
It’s this seamless, open experience the mobile web needs in order to evolve. HTML5 is what we need to deliver this and we need to keep exploding the myths around it to ensure it is embraced by the global developer community.