“Write once, run everywhere” this is the mantra of HTML5 technology.
HTML5 allow mobile developers to write code only once creating cross-platform mobile applications that can be opened with any mobile browser. An HTML5 mobile app is a web page, or series of web pages, designed to work on a tiny screen and on a widest range of devices and operating systems.
According to a recent IDC research over 80% of all mobile apps will be wholly or in part based upon HTML5 by 2015. Moreover a HTML adoption survey conducted between developers shows that 63% of them are currently using HTML5 and 31% plan on using it in the future.
Compared to native apps, HTML5 apps have some advantages and limitations:
- Working on all mobile devices and OS
- Offline support
- Contents contained in the app can be found by search engines
- Updates and bugs fixing are immediately available to all users
- Distribution and support is much easier
- No dependency on app stores
- Faster and cheaper to develop
- Limited access to native device functionality (camera, contacts, calendar, notifications)
- Browser fragmentation
- No secure offline storage
- Difficult to discover as it is not listed in any app store.
- No guarantee of safety and security of the app
- Performance can be slower than native apps
Nowadays a lot of softwares give the possibility to developers to easily build mobile web apps based on HTML5. MobPartner has selected and review for you the top 5 HTML5 frameworks:
1. Sencha Touch
Sencha Touch is a high-performance HTML5 mobile application framework. Built for enabling world-class user experiences, Sencha Touch enables developers to build powerful apps that work on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and more.
- Pricing: Available for free use, but powered from paid license version. You can buy support packs starting from 299$. More details
- Pros: 50 built-in components, themes for every popular mobile platform, model–view–controller system.
- Cons: Sometimes slow on Android and not working properly on Blackberry. It’s very hard to debug and fix errors.
Instead of writing unique apps for each mobile device or OS, the jQuery mobile framework allows you to design a single highly-branded web site or application that will work on all popular smartphones, tablets and desktop platforms.
- Pricing: jQuery Mobile is completely free and open source.
- Pros: If you know basic HTML it’s super easy to use. Drag-and-drop UI builder. Compatible with almost every device.
- Cons: Sites may looks similar due the limited options of themes customization.
- Pricing: The-M-Project is fully Open Source, MIT licensed and free to use.
- Pros: it comes with a build tool called Espresso!, offline support, excellent demos
- Cons: It’s a new project at its alpha stage so some things are not yet implemented.
DaVinci Studio will become your steady side-kick in the world of HTML5. This app framework enables you to drop and drag different elements with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) authoring environment.
- Pricing: Free
- Pros: Compatible with open source frameworks, emulator to simulate N-screen environments, extensive functions & widgets.
- Cons: It’s very new on the market so some bugs has still to be fixed.
Wink stands for Webapp INnovation Kit and is a toolkit which will help you build great mobile web apps for iOS (iPod, iPhone, iPad), Android, BlackBerry, Bada and now Windows Phone 7. Moreover it is adapted for Firefox mobile and Opera mobile.
- Pricing: Wink is an Open Source project of the Dojo Foundation, distributed under the modified BSD License.
- Pros: it keeps the file size minimum, big library of widgets as 3D wall, sliding panels, flip page, coverflow, progress bar and much more.
- Cons: the documentation looks a bit poor and cold.
Beyond native apps, mobile sites and HTML5 web apps, another option for mobile developers are hybrid apps that provide web view where its possible and platform-specific native components where it’s not.