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Pros and Cons of HTML5 Cross-Platform Android* Mobile App Development Tools on Intel® Processor-based Devices

, 4 Mar 2014
Pros and cons of HTML5 cross-platform mobile application development tools

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The success of mobile applications depends on reaching target customers regardless of the device they use. And cross-platform mobile application development tools help developers do that. A typical customer might use an Android smartphone to access the Internet on the go, a Windows* PC at work, or an Apple iPad* in a café.

Instead of using complex technologies like Objective-C*, Xcode*, and iOS* APIs for Mac*, iPhone*, and iPad; Windows API, Visual Studio*, and C# for Windows PC; and Android APIs, Java*, and Eclipse* for Android smartphones, it is much easier and effective to use HTML5 cross-platform mobile application development tools. The key is to have the right features in your application that deliver a perfect user experience. Second, the app should have an inherent ability to work on new devices that continually hit the market.

HTML5, a markup language, has several features that allow it to run on devices specifically designed to consume less electricity. For example laptops, smartphones, and tablets have processors that consume significantly less power than desktop devices. It is the preferred markup language used today to structure and present content on the Internet. Strategy Analytics predicts that more than a billion HTML5 compatible devices will be in use worldwide by the end of 2013. HTML5 can be used to develop interactive web pages for deployment across multiple operating system platforms and browsers. Hence, cross-platform mobile app development tools based on HTML5 are appealing to mobile app developers.

Pros and cons of HTML5 cross-platform mobile application development tools

Pros:

Writing HTML5 code is relatively easy to learn and use compared to most of the technologies mentioned above. Organizations can save money by writing apps that work on all the operating systems instead of reworking the app for each OS. Also the code can be used as reference for projects based exclusively on Android, Windows, or iOS.

Other advantages of its use are:

  • Allows development of applications that easily adapt to different resolutions, screen size, aspect ratio, and orientation.
  • Enables leveraging advanced capabilities like GPS, camera, and accelerometers in modern devices and deliver rich, contextual user experience across a range of devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • Applications can be deployed as local web applications and can also be viewed in browsers.
  • Mobile apps can use the same monetization and distribution channels as native apps.
  • Apps are not restricted by browser window frames and can run in a full-screen mode.
  • Users have full control over devices and display screen real estate.
  • Centralized code can be modified to interface with several devices.
  • JavaScript*, HTML, and CSS are the backbone of the Internet and web applications; therefore, migration of development tools to mobile devices is easier.
  • One-time exchange integration coding allows mobile applications to work similarly on all platforms, regardless of the device.

Cons:

Whenever there is a change or an added feature in iOS, Android, or Windows, the HTML5 cross-platform mobile app development tool has to reflect or factor in the change and make necessary adjustments to the code. This means cross-platform mobile application tools will always lag behind official SDKs.

Other potential downsides are:

  • Sometimes delivery of mobile apps can take time as developers have to write code for each platform.
  • Developers work in languages that are not native to platforms, hence the efficacy of the code depends on the translation engine. Inefficient coding techniques and bloated code are a common occurrence.
  • Difference in platform runtimes often causes complications in development of cross-platform mobile applications.
  • The HTML5 standard evolved in a relatively short time, thus causing discrepancies in the implementation of CSS attributes, HTML tags, and JavaScript APIs. At times, these features behave differently on different platforms. However, there are tools available to address these discrepancies.

These are some of the generic pros and cons of HTML5 cross-platform mobile app development tools.

It is clear that the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to HTML5 cross-platform mobile app development tools. HTML5 will continue to remain ‘the trend’ in the app development world. With this in mind, Intel has recently launched an HTML5 Development Environment to help developers create great mobile applications for all target devices, especially Intel® processor-based devices running Android.

Pros and cons of HTML5 tools for developing Android cross-platform mobile apps for Intel processor-based devices

With respect to Intel processor-based devices running Android, the HTML5 cross-platform development environment offers all the pros mentioned above, but there are several unique cons important to point out.

Cons:

  • The HTML5 cross-platform mobile app development tool is a one-size-fits-all model. Over a period of time user needs change, and when this happens, the optimum solution would be to develop pure native apps that deliver great user experience and high device fidelity. This is possible only with a native platform.
  • Best-of-breed applications are not possible with HTML5 cross-platform development tools. Applications developed using these tools are essentially customized web sites that look and feel like custom applications.

Even with the constraints listed above, HTML5 tools for Android cross-platform mobile apps for Intel processor-based devices help developers adapt to this new cross-platform approach so that they can deploy their apps and games on nearly all modern computing platforms. Thus trying these tools is indeed worthwhile.

HTML5 is a future trend in the world of app development, Intel believes it is important to help experienced developers transition to this cross-platform approach and aid new developers to quickly get up to speed with this exciting new approach so that they can deploy their apps & games on nearly all modern computing platforms. Visit Intel HTML5 and Intel Android page to get more resources for your projects.Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Copyright © 2013 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

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To learn more about Intel tools for the Android developer, visit Intel® Developer Zone for Android.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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