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Evolution of HTML to HTML5 as a Hybrid App Builder

April 8, 2015

To talk about life in an era of internet is trivial without prefatorial of the language which runs the internet front-end. From the Inception of the World Wide Web in the early 90’s until now, there is only one language which consistently rules the web, Hyper Text Markup Language or HTML.


The History of HTML

Today, most of the web pages you visit has its structure made in HTML. There are roughly 5 billion web pages in over 1 billion websites around the globe as of March 2015. HTML was developed by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), founded and run by Tim Berners-Lee considered as the Father of Internet. Later, WHATWG (The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group) founded in 2004 by a community of individuals from Apple, Mozilla & Opera foundation, initiated their support.

In early 90’s, HTML was in its infantile stage where it could be used only for basic page layouts. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ (NCSA) Mosaic was the first widely popular web browser. In 1994, Netscape came with the Netscape Navigator (predecessor of Mozilla Firefox) which was the dominant browser throughout 1990s.In 1995 when the engineers at Netscape thought the browsers need to be more dynamic, with the help of Brendan Eich they introduced JavaScript (earlier called Mocha), the scripting language which now rules the web. No flashy and fancy stuffs as we could see today were possible those days. When presentation of web pages became significant same as its content, In 1996 HTML got it’s sibling CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) for layout, colors and fonts.

The Maturation of HTML to HTML5

HTML is an incessantly evolving language and has gone through 7 phases until it arrived at the recent HTML5 standards. The various versions until now are:

1)     HTML 1.0

2)     HTML 2.0

3)     HTML 3.0

4)     HTML 3.2

5)     HTML 4.01

6)     XHTML 1.0

7)     HTML 5

Between HTML 1.0 – 4.0 and XHTML 1.0, the browser specifications were specifically for layout of image and text files in the web page. Creating a web application with those standards were practically impossible. While W3C group was in the proposal of XHTML 2.0 which was later discarded, In 2004 WHATWG began work on new standards which would help to develop a rich web application using these triads (HTML, CSS & JavaScript). Most of animation requirements which functioned until XHTML 1.0 using Adobe Flash could be replaced with HTML5. HTML5 is a superset of HTML which includes numerous new features such as:

1)     Simple Semantic Markup

2)     Javascript API’s (Geolocation, Canvas, Web Storage, Web Workers , Web Sockets, File API)

3)     Local SQL Database

4)     CSS3 layout techniques

5)     Support for Audio, Video & 3D rendering

6)     Form controls

HTML5 is a superset of HTML. It supports backward compatibility, i.e. all the markup’s and tags in previous versions are still supported in HTML5. While the browsers are competing to accommodate more and more functionalities to their latest versions, as end users we get more robust, much faster and more capable browsers.

HTML5: The Hybrid Mobile App Builder

Mobile browsing became an indispensable part of our life in the last few years. With the introduction of iPhone in 2007, the mobile web market started to see a steady growth. In 2014, mobile web usage is estimated to be about 67% and the numbers are expected to hit the roof this year. This growth boosted usage of HTML5 standards in most of the websites as HTML5 has multitude of mobile platform supporting capabilities.

With advent mobile platforms in iOS, Android, Windows, etc., the cost and effort of developing native apps raised enormously. HTML5 saw its greatest growth with the introduction of hybrid app development frameworks. In these frameworks you can create a web application and export it as a hybrid app that can run in any smart mobile devices without the use of browsers. Hybrid apps are essentially web application wrappers. The foundation is same as HTML, CSS and JavaScript languages. These apps can be published in any app market same as native apps.

Mobile App development is a constantly moving target. Every 6 months, there’s a new mobile operating system with unique features. Thanks to the community behind HTML5, its momentum has become the only cross platform compatible language which allows developers to build rich applications for multiple devices such as desktops, smartphones and tablets.

Are you looking for a partner to build a Hybrid Mobile App in HTML5? July’s experienced team is what you want!

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About the Author: Kiran Thomas is a Front End Developer at July Systems. He loves to dig into the latest trends of front end development. He is a JavaScript buff. Apart from programming, he loves nature photography.