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BLOG: CFOs should think before they leap -- at HTML5

Jonny Evans | March 27, 2012
Adding to the dizzying future technologies shopping list may not be ever so high on a CFO's list. But it might be a good time to think about HTML5 and its future implementations within your enterprise.

Adding to the dizzying future technologies shopping list may not be ever so high on a CFO's list. But it might be a good time to think about HTML5 and its future implementations within your enterprise.

In essence, HTML5 is a cross-platform programming language for multipurpose web application development. It lacks the performance "bugginess" of Adobe's fading Flash format, and is beginning to impact software development, with many choosing to deploy it within their applications, even within conventional desktop apps. More importantly, because this is an HTML language, apps built using it run well on all manner of devices -- a major plus for enterprise users in the BYOD transition.

A recent survey of 1,200 developers identified 75% who are using or plan to use HTML5 within their apps. This follows Adobe's recent declaration that Flex is no longer the best tech for creating and deploying rich content across mobile platforms. That, of course, is something once famously predicted by Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.

Some warn the technology isn't yet ready for prime time use within business applications. Yes, it can be an element within such software, but work remains to be done to ensure rock-solid security and effective synch between devices. That work proceeds, with the World Wide Web Consortium promising a final definition of HTML 5 in a few years.

Speaking to Net Magazine, Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester, says: "It isn't simply a question of either/or; there are four viable approaches to choose from: native, hybrid apps (native code with HTML and JavaScript), mobile middleware platforms, and a web approach (HTML5 and JavaScript)."

This doesn't mean you can't implement HTML5 within part of your application development -- we're in an age of transition, with hybrid solutions seen as the best way forward.

Salesforce has fully embraced HTML5 for tablets. Speaking at Mobilize 2011, Salesforce.com SVP Sean Whiteley said: "We're doing it all. We didn't have to make a decision, we just had to figure out what to do using what. HTML5 is still not there yet, it's very early, but we do believe it will evolve."

The buzz around the standard has created some champions. Kony Solutions CTO Sriram Ramanathanthinks organizations should be prepared to exploit it, but even he cautions for a hybrid model, leveraging the advanced features of desktop apps beside the mobile-savvy HTML5.

In a sense, this conversation mirrors what, for some time, we've been arguing for here at CFOworld: The enterprise is changing and workforces are going mobile.

"HTML5 functionality is exploding, revolutionizing consumer expectations of mobile apps, and at the same time, BYOD is compelling IT organizations to adapt quickly," says Ramanathan in a press release.

 

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