So, this past Tuesday I had the opportunity to speak at a leading business travel conference about the future of technology – SoLoMo + Cloud + Big Data – and its impact on next-generation Customer Experience Management (CXM).
When asked about Mobile, I decided to put some real wood behind the HTML5 arrow (with some qualifications of course). Sure enough, just as I was espousing its virtues, Mr. Zuckerberg decided to throw HTML5 under the proverbial bus. Excellent timing Mr. Grady, excellent timing!
I’m now forced to expound a bit more on my position so here it goes.
HTML5 is an emerging Web standard that holds huge promise in making Web-based applications behave like native applications. Many companies like LinkedIn have leveraged HTML5 to create very successful mobile applications and received industry accolades for its responsiveness, beauty and usability. Netflix has also used HTML5 coupled with native components with great success. Rearden Commerce has leveraged HTML5 as a part of its hybrid mobile development strategy to deliver mobile applications to four mobile platforms and six different brands.
So why did Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently say that Facebook’s “biggest mistake was betting too much on HTML5”? The fact is that this statement was taken out of context, and doesn’t encapsulate the nuances involved in this emerging technology. As Facebook users moved increasingly to media such as photos and videos, which slow performance, the natural limits of a Web-based application began to emerge. With such rapid device innovation and continuous evolution of HTML5 itself, it’s difficult to ensure the same experience for all users, especially for a company like Facebook with its millions of members on numerous devices and platforms. The problems of a pure HTML5 application emerge due to the rapidly changing landscape of devices and form factors.
Rearden Commerce’s suite of applications is built upon a hybrid platform which marries the best characteristics of HTML5 and native applications. Since our applications are not heavily media-dependent, we avoid many of the limitations related to latency and speed of large transfers. When we need support of native features of a phone, we leverage native components (such as our photo receipt capture for the Expense feature). Consider these advantages of a hybrid architecture:
Bottom line: the benefits of incorporating HTML5 into our mobile development model has resulted in the ability to service our customers and partners faster and at a lower cost than ever before. It has also allowed us to adapt to new mobile devices and protect us, and our partners, from the rise and fall of certain mobile platforms.
So in the end, it’s all about the application of HTML5 that determines the success or failure of a company’s Web and mobile development strategy. In fact, as HTML5 becomes a standard, companies are creating entire operating systems based on it and telco operators are supporting it. Not every company has the same issues as Facebook, so Mark’s statement should not be viewed as a blanket condemnation of HTML5.
That said, I’ll make sure Mark and I are in synch next time we’re covering the same tech topic – should make life a little easier!