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HTML5 – Trough of Disillusionment?

Gartner came a number of years ago with a graphical representation and explanation of how new technologies are adopted as solutions over time.  There is a period on the graph where new technologies have been overhyped and overpromised either by vendors or the technology community at large. Projects based on these cutting-edge technologies do not meet expectations and people begin to doubt the value of the technology.  This point in the cycle is called the Trough of Disillusionment:
Trough of Disillusionment:  Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.  
If you look at Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 2012, it shows HTML5 as one still on the peak:

But has it moved past the peak and started slipping into the trough?
I bring this up as cross-platform mobile app technologies such as HTML5 has not seen much love lately.  One of the bellwethers of the online social community, Facebook, made news recently when it’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg admitted that they made a mistake in targeting hybrid mobile technologies such as HTML5 for their namesake mobile application. Stating that they had made a misstep with HTML5, Zuckerberg stated that “Native [platform development] is going to be the approach that we go with for iOS and Android”.
Besides Facebook, there have been others in the mobile application development community that has come to realize that cross-platform web mobile technologies such as HTML5 and WebKit are not the panacea that many have come to expect.  The latest iteration of Appcelerator / IDC Mobile Developer Report (Q3/2021) surveyed 5000 developers and the results were not favorable to HTML5 as “Developers ranked their satisfaction with nearly every feature of HTML5 as neutral to dissatisfied”.  However, the survey did indicate that developers viewed the cross-platform capabilities of HTML5 highest.  There have been a number of presentations such as this that discuss the difficulties developers have encountered in building cross-platform mobile apps. In the presentation, John Bender lays out how different mobile browsers respond differently to content being served or mobile browser interaction with the user.
The Holy Grail of “write once, run anywhere”, releasing a single application to multiple platforms in order to reduce cost and increase time-to-market has been the objective of many software technologies. It sounds great in principle but often times; it can lead to a degraded user experience as Facebook recently learned. Cross-platform mobile app technologies can involve a considerable amount of effort to function correctly on a multitude of mobile browsers. An evaluation of the complexity of the mobile application under consideration, the user context, current business requirements and existing state of technologies may indicate that a firm builds out native applications in the near term and look at cross-platform technologies farther out or for less complex mobile applications. There is a common business adage that states that “It takes months to find a customer but only seconds to lose one!

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Perry Hoekstra

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