Thursday, August 25, 2011

Challenges with HTML5 for Mobile Applications

I’ve been highlighting features and advantages of HTML5 in previous posts, however, HTML5 has its limitations and challenges as well. Let's take a look at some of the noted concerns and disadvantages of HTML5 web-based apps in this article.
  • Well made Native apps run faster than HTML5 based web apps
  • Web applications can only communicate to the operating system through the browser engine, limiting usage of API’s to only those that are made available by the browser.
  • There are limitations with local data storage
We discussed in a previous post how with HTML5, it’s possible to store data locally on the device. Interruptions in connectivity no longer need adversely affect the field workers ability to remain productive since one can cache the logic and store the data locally on the device. While the web browser’s local databases make it easier for web apps to cache data, they won’t provide the same data power found with desktop apps. Data storage with HTML5 is buried deep in the browser, and stored data can’t be moved to another machine, copied, or backed up. The files can be moved but only if one knows where to look.

Security - The security of the local database is also a concern. If a user is able to manipulate the JavaScript code, the gap in security also leaves the databases open and vulnerable for the data to be changed. We need to be very cautious of data collection with HTML5 client-based apps.

Syncing Disconnected Apps - Data can be continually saved when a web app is connected to the Internet. However, when offline, changes aren’t always stored and copies start appearing, making synchronization a problem. Developers can provide solutions by using version control and user interfaces to manage synchronization but somebody must code this.

Previously published articles on HTML5

What Can HTML5 Offer Mobile Developers?
HTML5 - What I am Learning
Projections for and Demonstrations of HTML5
HTML5, Enterprise Mobility and Visual Effects

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.