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HTML5 Fact or Fiction. Developers React to the Hype

12.25.2012
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 Have you been wondering about the future of HTML5? As the end of the year approaches and we are all wondering what 2013 will bring, we have decided to demystify all the HTML5 hype. Kendo UI, a complete HTML5 framework with powerful jQuery widgets, has recently sponsored a survey to look behind the scenes of HTML5 app development. Kendo UI surveyed over 4, 000 software developers all over the world in order to gain insights about the usage of HTML5 and the expectations of developers who have embraced cross-platform development for their future projects.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of journalists who have written thousands of HTML5-related articles this year. Yes, all of them contain a grain of truth, however, much of the content on the web seems to revolving around the hype rather than the facts that really matter for the community. Fancy infographics and well-written articles may sometimes deliver misleading information.

The infographic below is produced as a result of the survey “HTML5 fact or fiction”. If you are curious to know all the key findings, read more about HTML5 and look into the controversial HTML5 adoption patterns, don’t hesitate to read the full survey and share your opinion with us. Script-Tutorials.com asks you: Would you adopt HTML5 in 2013?

Summary

Kendo UI, a division of Telerik, surveyed 4,043 software developers in the period between September 5th and September 26th of 2012 regarding their usage, attitudes and expectations surrounding HTML5 and its adoption for mobile development initiatives. The main objective was to determine real world adoption patterns of HTML5, separating hype from reality in order to get an accurate picture of real world use. The survey also sought to measure the impact of recent industry news – such as Facebook’s decision to “go native” or the W3C/WHATWG standards split – on overall adoption rates and attitudes towards HTML5 in the next calendar year.

The key findings reveal

  • HTML5 is far more than hype; with the majority of developers surveyed (82%) believing it is important to their job within the next 12 months, a finding that contradicts other reports, such as the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies (2012), which pushed widespread HTML5 adoption 5 to 10 years in the future.
  • Facebook’s decision to convert most of their mobile iPhone app from HTML5 to native code has had little-to-no effect on developer attitude towards HTML5 adoption (73%).
  • Developers prefer W3C’s “snapshot” HTML5 standard compared to the WHATWG “living standard” nearly 4:1.
  • Sixty three percent (63%) of respondents are already actively developing with HTML5. Most are leveraging the technology and most have stated that this is due to the familiarity of language, cross-platform support and performance.

The current state of HTML5

HTML5 has quickly become one of the most discussed and polarizing software development topics in history. Used for both modern websites and mobile apps, HTML5 arrived with great fanfare and promised to create an open platform that would solve many problems created by the proliferation of mobile operating systems and desktop browsers. Lately HTML5 has been at the center of new and sometimes ongoing debates, particularly around its ability to compete with “native” mobile app development and its ability to avoid the kind of fragmentation that prevented previous generations of web standards from being fully usable for software development. These debates have given way to new questions about HTML5′s adoption in the real world. Is the technology being widely adopted, or is it just a hype machine being ignored by developers?

To help answer these questions, Kendo UI surveyed 4,043 developers, asking a range of questions about their attitudes towards HTML5 and plans for near-term adoption. The survey found that approximately 63% of developers are already actively developing with HTML5 and an additional 31% plan to do so by the end of 2012. A mere 6% have no plans to take advantage of the technology in 2012.

In stark contrast

In July 2012, Gartner predicted that wide adoption of HTML5 is still 5 to 10 years out.1 Gartner’s findings, however, are in stark contrast to that of the Kendo UI survey, as well as research by both Forrester Research and Strategy Analytics. For example, in December 2011 the research firm Strategy Analytics forecasted that the sales of HTML5 compatible phones will top 1 billion in 2013.2 This compares to 400 million iOS and 400 million Android devices sold all time. In August 2012, Forrester Research issued a report noting, “HTML5 is no longer an emerging toolset for mobile and tablet development”. Instead, it is fast becoming the de facto standard for web experience innovation across touch points.

To delve a bit deeper into the importance of HTML5, the Kendo UI survey asked developers, “When do you think HTML5 will be important for your job?” The responses indicate that widespread HTML5 adoption is well underway and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Fifty one percent (51%) of respondents already regard HTML5 as important to their jobs, and an additional 31% indicate that HTML5 will be important for their job within the next 12 months. Only 1% feel that HTML5 will never be important to their jobs.

When do you think HTML 5 will be important for your job?
  • Immediately – 51%
  • Within next 12 months – 31%
  • In 12 to 24 months – 12%
  • Never – 1%
  • Not sure – 4%

Going further, when the 63% of developers already actively developing with HTML5 are considered in isolation, the importance of HTML5 is predictably higher (73%). On the flip side, the 6% of surveyed respondents who claim to have no plans for HTML5 in 2012 still say it will become important to them in the next 12 to 24 months, a much shorter window than indicated by Gartner’s July “Hype Cycle” study that projects a 5-to-10 year time frame.

Why HTML5?

When asked what makes HTML5 development more appealing than other options for writing software, most developers call out the familiarity of languages (72%), reach/cross-platform support (62%) and performance (34%) as the biggest benefits.

What makes HTML 5 development more appealing?
  • Familiarity of languages (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) – 72%
  • Reach / Cross-platform support – 62%
  • Performance – 34%
  • Availability of tools / libraries – 28%
  • Productivity – 27%
  • Based on open standards – 24%
  • Cost of development – 20%
  • Community – 9%
  • Other – 1%

Related to the benefits of cross-platform support, the survey also asked which platforms are most used for web development initiatives in determining how HTML5 usage spans traditional developer communities. The majority, 57% listed ASP.NET MVC as their top platform, 42% noted ASP.NET WebForms and 32% said PHP. Less than half of all respondents (45%) only use one platform for web development, with the majority (55%) using on average two-to-three different platforms for their projects. These results reinforce the idea that developers are pragmatic when it comes to picking platforms with HTML5, and are willing to use multiple solutions to get the job done.

Most used platforms for web development
  • ASP.NET MVC – 57%
  • ASP.NET WebForms – 42%
  • PHP – 35%
  • Java/JSP – 18%
  • NodeJS – 11%
  • Ruby on Rails – 7%
  • Other – 9%

The economic benefits HTML5 development offers versus that of native development were also highlighted by 20% of respondents. According to Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst of application development and delivery for Forrester Research, Mobile app developers we’ve worked with report porting costs of 50% to 70% of the cost of the original native app for every new mobile operating system an app needs to run on.

With strong grassroots developer support and unprecedented unilateral industry support, from the likes of Microsoft, Google, Adobe, AT&T, SAP and more, HTML5′s momentum and on-going mass adoption appear to be incontrovertible trends, above the threshold of being considered hype.

You are welcome to get a complete version of this survey here. There are a lot of nice diagrams and other interesting information.

Published at DZone with permission of Andrey Prikaznov, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)