Feeds

HTML5 still floundering in 'chicken and egg' era, says Intel

If it's not a PC or a smartphone, it's the Wild West

Build a business case: developing custom apps

IDF 2012 The new HTML5 APIs may have triggered an arms race among desktop browser vendors to see who could deliver the best performance and standards compliance, but when it comes to anything but a traditional PC, developers should be prepared for serious challenges – or so says an Intel rep.

"You're going to run into fragmented levels of performance and support and you'll need to be prepared for that," explained Kim Pallister, Intel's director of content planning, speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Users of desktop browsers are typically quite capable of running apps that take advantage of the latest HTML5 APIs, Pallister said, because the auto-update features of browsers such as Chrome and Firefox ensure that they're running the most recent versions.

Even most Internet Explorer users will soon be able to take advantage of most of HTML5, he said, because IE benefits from the Windows update cycle, which is due for another refresh with the simultaneous launch of Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 later this year.

But mobile phones and tablets are a different matter, Pallister said – and here the level of performance and support for HTML5 features varies widely.

As an example, Pallister pointed to ratings from the site HTML5Test.com, which rates browsers for HTML5 standards compliance on a scale from 1 to 500. While the latest desktop browsers might score somewhere in the 350 to 450 range, he said, mobile phones typically only score in the mid- to high-300 range.

Those scores drop even lower when you look at the new generation of alternative connected devices that also include some browser functionality, including game consoles, TV settop boxes, Smart TVs, and internet-enabled in-vehicle systems, Pallister said. While modern Smart TV browsers seem to score between 200 to 350 on HTML5Test.com, other types of devices tend to rate even lower than that.

The browsers found on game consoles are the worst of the lot, often scoring below 100. In many cases, Pallister said, the manufacturers of such devices seemed to have thrown a browser on there just to say they'd done it, without giving much thought to what content it should be capable of accessing.

And, he pointed out, HTML5Test.com doesn't even try to benchmark performance, and what JavaScript benchmarks there are seldom take into account factors such as GPU-accelerated graphics rendering.

Pallister cautioned device makers that as more and more HTML5 apps become available and users grow accustomed to the technology, standards support "is going to become one vector of the competitiveness of your platforms."

But that day is not today. "There's a bit of a chicken and egg here," he said, noting that until there's a truly killer app for HTML5 that device makers can't afford not to support, browsers on alternative devices will continue to lag behind their desktop cousins.

For developers, then, the question of whether or not to build applications using HTML5 technologies really boils down to just how cross-platform they want those apps to be.

"The state of whether or not HTML5 is ready really depends on you sitting down and thinking 'ready for what?'" Pallister said, adding that many developers would be happy if their apps ran on only Chrome and Firefox, given the combined market share of both browsers.

Developers who want their apps and content to be available on Smart TVs and other devices, on the other hand, should be prepared to leap a few more hurdles.

"You're going to need to get the TV in-house, you're going to need to get the phone number of the guy who built the browser for that TV, and you're going to have to get it to work together," Pallister said. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.