Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

Summary: While the Readability move is positioned as a move because of Apple's requirements, the bottom line here is that developers want to write once and put apps everywhere. HTML 5 is the most expedient way to reach that goal.

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Readability, a company that had a big problem with Apple's in-app purchase requirements, has relaunched its iOS services as an HTML5 app. Rest assured others will follow.

While the Readability move is positioned as a move because of Apple's requirements, the bottom line here is that developers want to write once and put apps everywhere. HTML 5 is the most expedient way to reach that goal.

Let's face it: As mobile browsers improve and HTML 5 becomes the norm many more Web sites are going to look like apps. In the months to come you may not know the difference. The hubbub around Apple's subscription requirements is just an excuse to go HTML 5 faster.

This HTML5 love affair isn't going to be the end of apps, but it will put them in their place. If all you're doing is reading apps, you can have HTML 5 for that.

Qualcomm's Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services, noted in a recent interview here:

“When’s the last time you downloaded an application on the desktop. Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and eBay are all accessed on a browser. You’ll do that on a phone. Content and services are going to go HTML 5. You can’t argue with the economics. There’s an economic pressure to innovate at scale and that means a drive to the browser."

That drive to the browser will increasingly minimize the importance of app counts for a lot of publishers. Why would you develop for a handful of mobile operating systems if HTML 5 can do the job?

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Topics: Browser, Software Development

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10 comments
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  • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

    Can HMTL5 give me a Metro like UI on WP7? While giving me an iOS look on iPhone and whatever the look is on Android.<br><br>I rather have the native one thanks so I don't have to go through the browser on my phone and the UI is consistent with all my other apps giving easier to use and understand apps.
    jhughesy
  • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

    HTML5 use means you are dependant on an internet connection. What will happen to my HTML5 Angry Birds if I'm in airplane mode?
    Colorado_AL
    • Not really

      @Colorado_AL

      HTML-5 apps can be "installed" in the devices memory for offline use and storage. Ibis reader is a perfect example, as an HTML-5 web app ereader it works with or without an internet connection. Now the memory these web apps can use is somewhat limited on iOS deviced (like 50MB I think?) but they can still run.
      oncall
    • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

      @Colorado_AL Most of the native apps on my iPad are dependent on an internet connection. A point bought home when I showed off my iPad to my landlord, but because they didn't have a wireless internet connection, there was virtually nothing I could show him, except a couple of games.
      Sunday Ironfoot
      • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

        @Sunday Ironfoot That's interesting because I have around 240 apps for my iPad, and very few require an Internet connection.
        melgross
  • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

    Does html allow persistent offline storage so that books viewed in the browser will remain there in a library you can manage? What's the html5 version of CoreData?
    011010100010100
  • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

    So Apple may have just sown the seed of distructon of it app store model by introducing its subscription model.
    Knowles2
    • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

      @Knowles2 That's not likely. This subscription "problem" is a problem only for specialized apps such as magazine, newspaper and other apps that have, well, subscriptions. The other 95% aren't affected.
      melgross
  • RE: Readability goes HTML 5 on iOS, expect others to follow

    imho this is an article whose major analytic focus is "skewed" by an indiscriminate lumping into the category "apps" of very different types of "applications."

    Applications that only "consume" content are one "beast," and within that category we need to break-out those that do require current internet connection vs. those who do not. Note that the "content consumed" can be very simple, as in basic text files, or viewing .jpg files, or very complex: as in viewing a database or a spreadsheet, or a highly formatted document.

    Applications that allow "content creation" are another: and here we need to distinguish "trivial" applications such as some little one-font, one-color, one font size, text editor, or some simple etch-a-sketch drawing program that lets you create a simple drawing, etc.

    Content creation applications that require intensive data-entry, such as spreadsheets, or, on the visual level, are dependent on very complex large-sized code-bases, like PhotoShop, are never going to be html5 "apps."

    Applications that essentially put "spin" on existing web-content, like Readability: or allow you to "decorate with markup or notes" content like .PDF files: another category.

    One-size never fitted all, and never will. HTML5 offers a wonderful palette for certain types of applications.

    Yes, you can make the argument that HTML5 + JavaScript + some form of secure access to either local or "cloud" storage does give you a complete IDE of sorts: and that's very cool, but it will never replace complex heavy-duty applications like Excel or PhotoShop.

    The other issues salient here that cut across boundaries have been mentioned already by other commentors: access to local storage, and requirement of being connected to the internet.

    thanks, Bill
    billwoo
  • I really hope this doesn't start a trend...

    ...I like having my as apps! I use the app versions of web sites because however good a browser is it's still another layer between you & what you're trying to do that is not needed and gets in the way.

    Even on the desktop I run GMail etc through Google Chrome's "App" mode to get rid of navigation, tabs and bookmarks bar because if I'm on that site there's no where else I want to go.

    This is mainly because with the browser you have to wait for the page to load to do something. With an app it can get data in the background while you do something else, you're not stuck looking at a loading webpage. So I can read tweets while it updates and gets the latest ones for example.

    If there is a HTML5 app which is used to run these sites without the full blown browser then fine, but otherwise I like the traditional app.
    DevJonny