Report HTML5 is the Future for Enterprise Developers

Report: HTML5 is the Future for Enterprise Developers

4 minute read
Barry Levine avatar

A new report finds standards-based HTML5 development, whose popularity has been growing in part because such apps can run cross-platform, has caught on big in the enterprise.

HTML5 is the latest version of the HMTL hypertext markup language. In conjunction with other standards-based technologies like CSS and JavaScript, it can run in browsers and across platforms without plugins. The State of HTML5 Development in the Enterprise report from Sencha, a provider of open-source web application frameworks, surveyed more than 2,000 business application developers from its business-focused community. It found HTML5 is booming:

  • More than 60 percent of developers have converted to HTML5 and hybrid development of their key projects
  • More than 70 percent of HTML5/hybrid developers are using HTML5 more this year than last and 75 percent intend to use it more in 2015
  • 19 percent of native mobile developers expect to use native technologies less in the future


Sobering News for Microsoft

“The days of developers supporting just Windows desktops or just iPhones with their applications are over,” the report stated, adding that half of developers support both mobile devices and desktops for their main apps. The “typical developer,” Sencha maintains, supports Windows classic, Mac OS, iPhone, iPad and at least one Android phone. Only about one fifth and one third of developers, respectively, are targeting mobile devices only or desktops only.

Sencha CEO Michael Mullany told one of the surprises of the survey was “the high number of devices that developers are supporting.” A second surprise, he said, was the strong preference developers have for standards-based technologies like the venerable but evolving JavaScript, notably in its most popular ECMAScript 6.

The survey also has sobering news for Microsoft, noting: “Although Windows classic for desktop/laptops remains the #1 app development target, 30 percent of developers have dropped support for it.”

Mullany said that it was fair to declare HMTL5 as the “No. 2 or No. 3 development platform, behind Android and iOS.” In five years, he predicted “we’ll see a world where mobile native apps are used in a niche for games.” Key drivers of the move toward HTML5: the need to develop in one environment, the need to develop quickly, the ability to run cross-platform and an increasing satisfaction with the HTML5 development tools.

For the record, HTML5 is a cooperation between the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG). WHATWG was working with web forms and applications, and W3C was working with XHTML 2.0. In 2006, they decided to cooperate and create a new version of HTML.

Learning Opportunities

CMSWire asked Mullany about the new mobile platforms, such as Firefox OS, which are focused on HTML5 apps rather than native ones. He said that the “next stop for Firefox” in its support of HTML5 apps is higher-end hardware to create better experiences, and added that Sencha’s survey found five to ten percent of developers are already expecting to target that new platform.

Two Other Reports

While Sencha has an obvious interest in promoting HTML5, it is not alone in documenting the HTML5 bandwagon. For instance, a recent report from digital ad platform Flite, Why Digital Advertising Must Embrace HTML5 (registration required), noted  HTML5 “offers an alternative to [Adobe’s proprietary] Flash and is likely to become the dominant platform for interactive ads in the coming years.”

Similarly, a report last summer from Forrester Research — Development Landscape, 2013 — found that 55 percent of developers in the general market are using HTML5 for web apps or websites – which represent the majority of their projects. For mobile apps, the report said, “it’s really a dead heat between native technologies and HTML5.”

The Forrester report echoes the continuing debate between greater performance in native mobile apps versus the reduced cost, portability and a common code base for HTML5-based apps. Those building enterprise apps and connected mobile apps have gravitated toward HTML5, the report said, while consumer-facing apps, such as games, “will continue to choose a native platform approach.”

But “for the majority of developers,” the Forrester study concluded, “the debate is now over; they’ve embraced the future and HTML5.”