Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) Blog

How to Build an App: HTML5 Mobile Edition

kinvey-how-to-make-html5-app-blog-thumbToday, we’ve released a free eBook titled “How to Build an App: HTML5 Mobile Edition.” We aim to provide content that helps make your app development process easier, faster, and better overall. Seeing as the number of HTML5-compatible phones on which your application could potentially run is very large — expected to top 1 billion in 2013 — this guide helps you take advantage of the language’s increasing popularity and relevance. Our guide takes a look at what an HTML5 app consists of, what are some of the more popular tools available to help you through the process — and explore why (or why not) you might choose to go the HTML5 route. To get straight to the meat, click here to download the free book. Otherwise, continue below to read an excerpt from the book.

HTML5 Is a Spec

Like its name implies, HTML5 is the fifth official version of HTML, the specification of the markup language for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web. Unlike a “programming” language such as, for example, Objective-C (the language of iOS apps) a markup language is not compiled, which means it isn’t converted into a file of machine-executable binary code. An HTML5 app is a plain old web app that a web browser loads and renders as the web pages we are all familiar with.

Like any web page, an HTML5 app may need to be downloaded at runtime or, alternatively, it can be packaged as a self-contained app that runs in its own web view and that many people might find indistinguishable from a “native” app.
Unlike an HTML5 app, a native mobile app is one that is written specifically for a particular mobile operating system (iOS, Android, etc.) using the programming language, libraries and other tools supporting that OS. Those tools include APIs that apps can call to leverage device-specific functions directly from the OS, including camera, accelerometer, storage, and others.

Unlike previous HTML standards, HTML5 also supports APIs on devices as well as other features, previously missing in the standard, that make HTML5 a viable language for mobile app development. It is the first HTML version to support multimedia without plugins (like Flash, which is not supported on many phones). HTML5 also integrates CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets 3) and JavaScript, making it possible to implement “beefier” apps directly in the HTML5 standard whose user experience (UX) rivals that of native apps in terms of high visual appeal and high interactivity. In fact, it is fair to say that many of HTML5’s innovations are there so that HTML5 apps can be “just as good” as native versions — or even better because they allow developers to reach the largest audience with the least amount of effort.

To learn how to build an HTML5 mobile app, download the free eBook: How to Build an App: HTML5 Mobile Edition.

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