Javascript Gains While HTML5 Stalls

Mobile application developers are increasingly moving in the direction of JavaScript while at the same time losing their enthusiasm for HTML5. According to a new survey of 6,698 mobile application developers conducted by International Data Corp. on behalf of appcelerator, a provider of tools for building mobile applications, 47.3 percent ranked JavaScript as the most relevant programming language they use today. By comparison, Java came in second at 35 percent while Objective C was third with 32 percent.

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Perhaps more significantly, 88 percent of the developers surveyed found it likely or very likely that in 2014 JavaScript would dominate both client and server side application development.

According to Michael King, director of enterprise strategy for appcelerator, JavaScript is being pulled into the cloud by the rapid embrace of Node.js to build Back-end applications. As such, JavaScript now plays a significant role in allowing developers to build browser-agnostic mobile applications that can more easily invoke cloud application services.

As a result, King says, JavaScript is now well on its way to become the “lingua franca” for building mobile computing applications.

Over the last couple of years, JavaScript emerged as a significant force because it allows developers to build robust applications that run inside the browser. JavaScript, which was first widely adopted for use in consumer applications, is increasingly being used to build a new generation of enterprise applications. Looker Data Sciences has developed a business intelligence application written mostly in JavaScript that allows user to leverage a real-time processing engine to directly access multiple sources of Big Data.

While JavaScript is in the ascendency, however, enthusiasm for HTML5 appears to be waning. The number of survey respondents who are “very interested” in building applications using HTML5 fell to 59.9 percent—the lowest level since appcelerator began tracking the specification in April 2011. Interest in HTML5 peaked in July 2012 at 72.7 percent.

There were many issues with HTML5 and the latest release of Apple iOS clearly didn’t help matters, King notes. However, as developers gain more experience with HTML5, it's clear that the proverbial bloom is off the HTML5 rose as a panacea for mobile application development. A big part of that disenchantment is that various browsers support HTML5 differently.

Although there will probably never be a perfect mobile application development scenario, use of these devices on the Web is skyrocketing. Therefore, developers cannot ignore mobile computing, but must understand there’s still a lack of maturity when it comes to mobile computing standards.

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