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Facebook may have dropped HTML5 for native to build a better iOS app, but despite the social network's high-profile breakup, a new survey of more than 4,000 developers indicates that HTML5 is not down and out.
In fact, it's far from it according to mobile app development software vendor Kendo, which found that 94% of mobile developers it polled are either using HTML5 today or plan to use it this year.
Of the developers Kendo surveyed, just 6% said that they had no plans to use HTML5 in 2012. 31% did, while 63% are already "actively" developing using HTML5. Well over 90% believe that their ability to work with HTML5 will be an important career skill in the next two years.
Love, for all the wrong reasons?
So why is HTML5 so popular with developers? Not surprisingly, some of the reasons mimic those which originally drove Facebook to build its mobile app with HTML5. One of the most important: it's easier to build apps that work cross-platform.
But of those polled, that wasn't the top reason. The top reason: HTML5 is familiar territory. In other words, developers love HTML5 because they already know HTML5. That isn't exactly a surprising finding, but it's a worrying one for companies trying to build useful and successful mobile apps, particularly those in markets where HTML5's viability is still most questionable.
User experience must trump familiarity
For obvious reasons, companies will want to tread carefully when it comes to the technologies used in the implementation of a mobile app. Micromanagement is a good way to produce a grumpy developer, and not necessarily a successful product. For some mobile apps, HTML5 is viable, and as mobile devices and platforms become more capable, apps built with HTML5 will likely be more capable as well.
But at the end of the day, when left to their own devices, some developers will put familiarity and cross-platform convenience above user experience. And that's something companies wanting to build successful mobile apps simply should not permit.