A decade ago, there was this ongoing debate around cross platform technologies, the importance of cross platform technologies, Java Vs. MS.Net Vs. web and other alternatives.
Years went buy, browsers got bigger and stronger, Java proved that a native cross platform technology cannot really exist, not because it's impossible, but because there are too many sides involved, each pushing to a different direction. The question remained open.
With the recent mobile revolution, placing multiple mobile platforms like iOS, Android, BlackBerry and others in the front of the bleeding edge technology, the cross platform question is once again relevant.
How do you build a software that can seamlessly run on BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and even Windows Phone 7?
The endless war between Apple (iPhone/iPad), Adobe (Flash), Google (Android), and Microsoft (Silverlight, Windows, Windows Phone) has more losers than winners; Apple products will probably never run Flash, Google will never run Microsoft's Silverlight, and Microsoft will never promote Java or Flash.
The war has a lot of casualties, many of them are the developers, trying to find a way to support both Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and soon, Windows Phone 7.
But without noticing, from the ruining of this crazy war, raised a new force.
Not exactly "new" but more of a "renewed" force. Completely neutral.
It's the classic good old web technologies, including Html, Java script, those basic technologies responsible for billions of web sites and web applications all over the internet, those technologies have quietly emerged from building simple static pages to creating basic apps, They evolved form enabling simple on-line apps into creating advanced on-line/offline apps for any platform out there. Including mobile.
Yes, while Apple is fighting Google, Adobe and RIM, and while Microsoft is struggling to understand how to position silverlight, all of them are pushing something "else", something which is truly lightweight, something that is truly running on top of any mobile operating system, something that is so simple and familiar, every developer can easily adopt.
Something which is truly neutral, and therefore can be the only true cross platform technology.
Html technologies were around for years, they will always remain the basis for every web-based technology, but as Palm's webOS proved, they can also be used to create native applications. Rich, advanced, offline applications.
Html5 is here
By now you are probably familiar with the term Html5 (if not – you should). Html5 adds advanced video & media capabilities, integration with hardware, drag & drop and most importantly: offline & database capabilities (!) to the standard web technologies.
Supported by almost all the leading browsers and micro-browsers (Apple, Google, BlackBerry, HP-Palm, and soon Microsoft) – Html5 is, de-facto, the only true cross platform technology to date.
With Html5 (combined with java script, CSS, and other web goodies, of course) you can build a rich client application with offline capabilities that will run on any Android based smartphone, iPhone, iPad, Palm Pre, BlackBerry PlayBook or Torch, oh, and of course will also run on any laptop, netbook, etc.
Of course, that is not all. With the constantly improving micro browsers, additional native capabilities are added to the core capabilities of web apps: accessing GPS information, integrating with wireless ports, Phone, and more. Soon we will see web apps fully integrating with the camera, contacts, and other native apps without having to go through different hybrid layers.
In a year from now, everyone will want Html5. This is why Apple pushes it, Google loves it (and even abandoned it's home grown Gears technology for it), and this is also the reason why even Microsoft recently hinted Html5 will replace Silverlight as part of the company's web strategy.
Why am I telling you all of this?
First, because I believe it's an interesting topic, especially when talking about smartphones and the need to support multiple platforms that are using different technologies.
Second, because in my real work (working for ClickSoftware), as a product manager of a few mobile products for the field service, we spotted that need a long time ago, and decided to build some of our smartphones strategy on top of Html5. During the development period we gradually discovered how quickly does this world of Html5 and micro-browser progress. webOS, BlackBerry OS 6 (with the new browser), all of the webKit based micro-browsers – that's an amazing world to be in at the moment.
More details about the product we have just released can be found in here:
Introducing ClickMobile Professional – The First Hybrid Application With True Cross Platform Capabilities