Developer survey: HTML5 gaining, Windows slipping

In Sencha poll, developers say they want to build with HTML5 technologies, while desktop interest dips

HTML5 developers queried recently by tools vendor Sencha remain dedicated to building apps via Web technologies, even as doubts have been cast on how effective HTML5 is vis à vis native development. Many of those same developers, however, have dropped support for the classic Microsoft Windows platform.

Surveying 2,128 business application developers from the HTML5 development community, including users of its own tools, Sencha found that 70-plus percent of developers planned to do more with HTML5 in the 2013 timeframe than they had done the previous year. And 75 percent will work further with HTML5 in 2014. More than 60 percent of developers have migrated to HTML5 and hybrid development for primary applications. For the coming year, just 4 percent of HTML5 developers plan to cut back on HTML5.

"We're seeing more enthusiasm for HTML5 and more HTML5 feature usage than we have in previous surveys," said Michael Mullany, Sencha CEO. The company released results of its survey, which was conducted in December and January, this week. Sencha's polling, however, follows a recent report by Forrester that found while HTML5 technologies are useful, native application development remains superior. The Forrester report also noted that HTML5 applications usually take longer to deliver than planned.

More than 50 percent of developers are targeting both desktop and mobile devices, with a median number of developers supporting five different device types: Windows, MacOS, iPhone, iPad, and at least one Android device. But 30 percent of developers have dropped support for classic Windows for desktops and laptops, though it remains the most-supported platform, with 71 percent of developers accommodating it. Five years ago, the vast majority of developers were supporting mostly desktops rather than mobile systems. "Now, the most popular development approach is to support both," Mullany said.

Sencha found some gaps in which devices were supported by developers as opposed to which platforms were tested by developers. For example, 23 percent of developers said they support Windows tablets, but only 13 percent test their applications on these tablets. This brings into question which platforms are, indeed, targeted, supported platforms.

Android and Apple's iOS, not surprisingly, were favored target devices. Sixty percent of developers build for Android phones, and 60 percent test for Android phones. Fifty-five percent of developers are targeting for Android tablets, while 43 percent actually test their applications for these devices. Fifty-eight percent support applications on for the iPad, and 51 percent test their apps on it, while 57 support iPhone and 54 percent test on it.

Sencha also found that more than 50 percent of respondents were using CSS3 styling and animation as well as offline storage as part of their HTML5 repertoire. But Sencha noted little interest in some newfangled programming technologies, including the Google Dart language and the Microsoft-driven TypeScript platform. Nearly 60 percent of developers had no interest in or were not familiar with Dart, and only 10 percent had high interest in it. Just 17 percent had high interest in TypeScript.

This article, "Developer survey: HTML5 gaining, Windows slipping," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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