HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript are ready for prime time

HTML5 development tools

About 3 years ago, Alpha made a very considered and strategic decision that HTML5 and HTML5 development tools were going to be very important in the future of computing.

Based on that decision we started focusing our Alpha development efforts around HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and Ajax. With the rapid improvement in HTML5 and JavaScript in terms of features and performance, it is now increasingly clear that we made the right decision. (If you need to access hardware on the mobile device, a native wrapper for HTML5  will give you access to all these capabilities. Alpha will be offering such a wrapper - more on that later.)

Dan Bricklin: "JavaScript rolls on"

In a blog article published yesterday, Alpha Software adviser and industry legend Dan Bricklin convincingly makes the same point – HTML5 and JavaScript have really come of age in the last few years. And Dan really knows his stuff, having built a full JavaScript spreadsheet, SocialCalc, and also a top selling iPad application (Note Taker HD, written in native code for Apple iOS). Some excerpts from the blog are worth noting:
A major milestone, at least to me, happened last week when it was announced that Firefox 19, released as a production version, has a built-in PDF viewer that is written completely in JavaScript. The project to create this viewer is called PDF.js. The PDF file format is pretty complex. It is something you would expect to be rendered by programs written in C++ or some other compiled language, not a scripting language originally used for simple text and DOM manipulation. However, JavaScript has grown up, and the standard graphics capabilities of the browsers have advanced, so now you can do something even as sophisticated as PDF rendering, and make it run quickly.
Dan goes on to say:
There are other recent JavaScript-related developments: Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of their mobile operating system built around HTML5 on February 24th (you can already install it on a few existing Android phones), and today, February 26th, Microsoft announced the availability of IE10 on Windows 7, bringing improved support for CSS3 and touch events to their widely-used platform.

(Note that while I am focusing here on JavaScript, the language goes hand-in-hand with the environment in which it is running. In this case, on the user device, that means along with HTML and CSS which have also been evolving.)

I find this is pretty exciting. I like JavaScript. The three major browser engines, WebKit (Safari, Chrome, Android, etc.), Gecko (Firefox), and Trident (Internet Explorer), support it and CSS quite well (compared to the old days), and have special features targeted at touch-enabled and mobile devices (e.g., multi-touch and GPS support). It is much easier to make code that runs almost everywhere than it ever was in the early PC days with many operating systems and processor platforms. It's not perfect, and it's not for all types of apps, but it sure is above the bar necessary for an awful lot of common business applications, including the huge number of custom apps that will be needed for everything from sales support to tablets mounted on walls and equipment. With the prevalence of Bringing Your Own Device, and the need to support traditional desktop/laptop systems as well as smart mobile devices, I think we can see the new, smooth-performance place that has emerged for JavaScript when developers decide what to use when they build their apps.

VentureBeat: "5000 developers are now saying HTML5 is real, its now and yeah its also the future"

In addition to Dan's article where he explains that HTLM5 and Javascript have become such capable development tools, there is also this recent article in VentureBeat where they look at the issue from an adoption point of view and come to the same conclusion. What is most interesting in the article is the following:
HTML5 on mobile is nothing new. But what about HTML5 on the desktop?

It turns out that HTML5 could be huge on the desktop, with 66 percent of developers interested in developing HTML5 apps for Windows 8, almost half interesting in building apps for Google’s Chrome OS, and another third thinking about developing apps for the emerging Firefox OS.

“It’s the final frontier for where HTML5 should go,” Anglin said. “And it begs the question … why don’t we think of this as an equal option for a PC?”

On a desktop PC, HTML5 would not be limited by a relatively puny mobile processor, either, meaning that developers could do even more with HTML5 video and interactivity. What that means, Anglin said, is that you could have a complete unified strategy for all mobile operating systems and desktop systems at one time … that uses the same codebase and the same developer skill set.
This ties in really nicely with our plans at  Alpha Software for offering  a single, complete development platform for both desktop and mobile applications that allows you to develop once and deploy across a variety of devices.

Who said that listening to customers is old fashioned? A true story from this past Saturday
Oui, SI, Ja, Ano, Tak, Jawol, Haan, Jes: Yes indeed, Alpha Five v11 makes multilingual application development easy

About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

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