Many developers today, as much as 37%, are not implementing HTML5 at all or only somewhat in their applications. Since being declared the W3C standard in 2014, HTML5 has become popular for many reasons. However, the transition to complete HTML5 for many developers still seems daunting. ChartIQ outlines why they use HTML5 to build their data visualization products and how they have overcame obstacles in this blog series, The Bridge to HTML5.
Containers: Building HTML5 Desktop Applications
With the advent of HTML5, it is now possible to build uncompromising business applications in the browser. The introduction of the HTML5 API narrowed the functionality and performance gap between browser and desktop applications by providing a high speed canvas for data visualization, WebSockets for streaming network communications, a file system API, and more. The list of advantages continues to grow.
Given these advances, the “last mile” for HTML5 is an ability to act as a true desktop application that is indistinguishable from native applications. Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) is the technology which makes this possible. CEF essentially allows native applications to embed a Chrome browser into their UI in a way that is seamless and unapparent to the end user. Thanks to innovations from a few brilliant companies, this technology has been abstracted so that it can now be easily leveraged, both to build new desktop applications and to extend existing applications with HTML5 functionality.
This all sounds great - but only if you’re first convinced that HTML5 offers a unique advantage over traditional programming methods. Native coding (Java, .NET, Objective-C) is alive and well but it is now generally understood that the HTML/CSS paradigm is usually simpler, quicker and more flexible than traditional native approaches. HTML’s evolution was primarily driven by graphics designers who required flexible layout and complete control over aesthetics in order to build beautiful, mostly print inspired, web pages. The Document Object Model (DOM) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) evolved to meet these needs. These technologies were well established by the time browsers gained the ability to present dynamic content. The application of graphic design discipline to dynamic content and interactivity resulted in the web we know today, lush with interfaces that can simultaneously offer power and simplicity.
The benefits of adopting HTML5 for new functionality, particularly UI, are compelling. The question of how to apply an HTML5 strategy to the desktop, and how to leverage these benefits in the context of legacy desktop applications, has been answered by what’s now known as the “container”.
Read the next blog post "Going All In." We talk about how HTML5 containers help when starting an application project as well as how legacy platforms written in Java and .NET can be integrated with HTML5.
You may also like our previous blog post about why we chose Canvas Element over SVG to build our financial charting library.