HTML5: Alive And Well With CIOs

Apparently, native apps have won. After all, Facebook apparently likes native more.

Unfortunately, CIOs missed the memo, and the dirty little secret is that most of the world's software, including apps, is written for use, not sale. That means that most of the world's software is not going to follow what Facebook's mobile strategy is, but rather what those stodgy enterprises do.

Those stodgy enterprises? They're all in on HTML5.

I spent Wednesday afternoon with a who's who of enterprise CIOs and CTOs in New York City, talking about Big Data, cloud and mobile. With the Facebook Phone in mind, I polled the group on its mobile applications. Every single executive - not one exception - was building hybrid HTML5 apps, meaning the bulk of the app is written in HTML5 with a native wrapper to improve performance, add camera access, etc.

Every. Single. One.

And not just a few such apps. The bulk of their apps were hybrid HTML5 apps, both for internal employees and for external customers.

Going Native?

Sure, there were some native apps, though generally not yet written for Android. ("We can't figure out what to do about Android," said one executive of a major financial services firm.) But overall, the CIOs I talked to, and there were roughly 100 in the room, were basing their mobile app strategy on hybrid HTML5 apps.

The CIO needs are different from Zynga's, or those of other consumer app developers. Many of the apps they're building are informational in nature, or have such a stringent need for broad access that these enterprises simply can't afford to alienate a particular mobile device demographic. They need to support iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, etc. And with the vast majority of mobile OSes now sporting HTML5-compatible browsers, the time is ripe for HTML5 apps.

Still Hiring For HTML5

The job numbers bear this out. While HTML5 can get pooh-poohed by consumer app developers like Facebook, it remains the hottest technology skill, as measured by jobs, more than holding its own with iOS and Android in absolute number of jobs:


And trouncing both iOS and Android in terms of relative job growth:

This corroborates Evans Data's finding in early 2012 that 75% of mobile developers were using or expecting to use HTML5, a number that seems to have moved from aspirational to actual in 2013.

Hence, while the media will tend to focus on what it knows best - consumer apps - CIOs are working away on HTML5 strategies. Just ask Accenture. Yes, there are tradeoffs when going HTML5, just as there are tradeoffs when going native. For enterprise CIOs, however, broad, cross-platform access to employees and customers makes HTML5 a winning solution.