Tag Archive | "html5"

Intel App Porter Tool Kickstarts HTML5 Development

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2013-02-27-1729

Eric Mantion from Intel gives us an overview of a new tool Intel have developed for porting IOS apps into HTML5 so they can be re-distributed onto other platforms. The app porter does the ‘kickstart’ work in getting the bulk of the code working under HTML5 and Javascript and identifies areas of the code that need hand-tuning. For those people with existing IOS apps looking to go to other platforms, this could be a great way to get things moving or even to analyse the manpower involved in a porting project.

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Ultimate Coder Ultrabook Challenge Week 5 – IDF Inspiration

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There’s nothing better for software innovation than getting a bunch of software innovators together, adding some hardware experts, some visionaries, a bunch of cool hardware, feedback from consumers… and a few glasses of alcohol. That about sums up what happened at IDF last week. Without reading any of the Ultimate Coder Ultimate Challenge blogs this week (see more below though) I know that all of the teams were stimulated to make changes, add features and optimize others. It’s late in the game (only 2 weeks to go) but I’m sure that there will be a few beta’s that get feature upgrades. Dangerous!

P1120122

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Chrome for Android Ups the HTML5 Ante; Now Scores Highest of Any Mobile Browser

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Chrome Beta for Android phones and tablets was launched just last week by Google. Unfortunately, it’s restricted to Android 4.0 and beyond, which means in all likelihood, only about 1% of you currently have access to it. Although the default Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich browser is Chrome-like in many ways, the Chrome Beta brings the Chrome aesthetic to the Android platform along with an emphasis on synchronization and a big boost to web-standards compatibility.

In addition to syncing your bookmarks from desktop to mobile and back, Chrome for Android also lets you open tabs on your phone or tablet that are currently open on your computer. Unfortunately, this isn’t a two way street (you can’t access tabs currently on your phone/tablet from the desktop browser). You can also command pages to open on your phone using the Chrome to Mobile Beta extension, although this feature has always been possible with the older Chrome to Phone extension which only requires Android 2.2+ to use.

With Chrome for Android, your familiar omnibox comes with you as well. If you frequently visit a site through Chrome on your desktop, your omnibox will pick up on those queues on your mobile as well, helping you get to the site you want more quickly. There’s also incognito browsing on Chrome for Android, but this feature is present in the default browser as well, so it won’t be anything new if you’re already on Android 4.0+.

Chrome for Android actually makes perhaps its biggest stride in a mostly invisible, but utterly important area: web compatibility. Just the other week I published a story showing which mobile browser had the best compatibility with the still-evolving  HTML5 standard. At the time, RIM’s in-development browser was at the top of the list with a score of 329 from HTML5test.com, while the highest scoring currently-released browser was mobile Firefox (available for multiple versions of Android) with a score of 313. Although Chrome for desktop has long led or been consistently among the top most compatible HTML5 browsers, the default browser on Android was actually far behind the curve with a score of only 256 for the Android 4.0 ICS version of the browser, and just 182 for the Android 2.2/2.3 version of the browser which the vast majority of smartphones are running.

With the release of Chrome for Android, Google has make a significant improvement to HTML5 compatibility over the default browser, improving by 87 points over the Android 4.0 ICS browser and a whopping 161 points over the Android 2.2/2.3 version. At 343 points, Chrome for Android now stands as the #1 most compatible HTML5 browser. This isn’t quite as high a score as the desktop counterpart, which currently scores 373 in the test, but it’s a good sign of things to come.

Chrome for Android uses the same rendering engine as the default Android browser as far as I can tell, so you likely won’t see any major performance gains (although I am noting a ~200ms improvement in Sundspider between the default browser and Chrome). However, the user interface is more interactive and offers many improvements over the default browser (especially if you’re using the pre-ICS browser). Another new feature is a link preview box which automatically pops up when Chrome is unsure which link you’ve clicked (where there are many links close together). You’ll see a little box pop up which magnifies the links and makes them easier to click. This is handy, but half the time I can’t even get it to come up on purpose which makes me question how well they are able to detect when it will be needed.

I’ve got the Galaxy Nexus on hand and I’ve been trying Chrome for Android since it came out. While I’ve got issues with a few user-interface inconsistencies and a stalling omnibox (hopefully to be fixed post-beta), it’s undeniable that Chrome for Android can provides a much richer and more ‘hands-on’ experience thanks to a rethought UI.

I don’t have a tablet running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handy so I haven’t been able to get a feel for Chrome for Android in that form. Fortunately, our pal Ritchie from Ritchie’s Room has the Asus Transformer Prime (now upgraded to Android 4.0 ICS) and put together a great video showing what the experience is like (his written thoughts on the browser are here):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79x67bjZGtA

As you can see, it looks very much like Chrome on the desktop. This is a great thing because it really extends the Chrome browser experience across multiple platforms; not just in terms of synced bookmarks, but also in look and feel. Imagine how close to a desktop experience you’d get if you were running Chrome for Android on a tablet hooked up for use as a desktop computer!

One thing I wish Chrome for Android would do is sync your ‘Most Viewed’ sites that are shown when you open a new tab. At the moment, the ‘Most Viewed’ section exists on Chrome for Android, but it only considers sites that you’ve viewed on your phone, not those on the desktop as well. This may be intentional (as one might browse differently when on desktop or mobile), but it also might be attributable to the ‘Beta’ tag currently adorning this initial release of Chrome for Android. Also not currently functioning in the browser is Flash. Again, this might be a beta thing, or perhaps Google is putting the final nail in the coffin.

It’s unclear if Google intends to eventually turn Chrome into the default browser for Android, but I think you’ll agree with me in saying that it would make a lot of sense. The boring default browser has long lacked any thoughtful tab management or much of a user interface; Chrome for Android feels like a big (overdue) step in the right direction. It would be odd if Google maintained two separate mobile browsers for Android, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility — it likely depends upon the organization and cooperation of the Android team and the Chrome team within Google.

If Google treats the Chrome Beta like most products they’ve ever labeled with ‘beta’, be prepared to see that beta tag for years to come!

Which Mobile Browser Has the Best HTML5 Support?

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No matter how fast your tablet or smartphone is, without proper web-standards support, you may run into roadblocks while trying to do various online tasks. It’s hard to pin down one single instance where lack of standards support is going to hurt you, but for me what it really comes down to is confidence in one’s browser. By this I mean: when I leave the house and have only my smartphone with me, I might need to do something through the browser that I’ve never done before (and thus don’t know whether or not it will work correctly); I should have confidence that my phone will be able to handle it.

I’ll give you one example: several years ago I was standing in a long line to buy lift tickets at a ski resort. Only after we’d been standing in line did we come to know that you could get a discount if you pre-purchased the tickets online. Smartphone-in-hand, we went to the resort’s website and pre-purchased lift tickets for the group while waiting in line. Had my smartphone not had sufficient browser standards support, it’s very likely that I wouldn’t have been able to properly interact with the resort’s website — whether it be a drop down list, radio button, or form-entry mechanics, which just might not have worked quite right, preventing me from completing the task at hand. Having the confidence that you’ll be able to do nearly anything through the browser of your smartphone/tablet that you could do from your desktop is an important factor in anyone who is serious about mobile productivity. And while my example above obviously wasn’t a very big deal; imagine yourself in a business situation where some vital task needs to be accomplished in a pinch, and you’ve got only your smartphone with you. Screw it up and miss the deadline and you’ve lost the big account — only because you weren’t able to do what you thought you could through your mobile browser.

HTML5 represents the latest version of standardized web language. A browser that fully supports HTML5 and a website written properly with HTML5 means that there should be perfect parity between the functionality of the website and the ability of the browser to interpret that website — and allow you to do pretty much anything from your smartphone/tablet that you could do from your desktop browser. With this in mind, you may be interested, as I am, in seeing which mobile browsers have the best HTML5 support to date. Be sure to note that HTML5 is still under development, so ‘full compatibility’ is a moving goal post at this point, and scores are being improved with every browser/OS update. Before you look at the results, why don’t you guess which platform/browser will have the best HTML5 support. Go on, guess!

HTML5 Test Mobile Browser Scores

I mostly kept the most modern version of each operating system’s browser on the chart, except I kept Android 2.2/2.3 and 3.0/3.1/3.2 because the vast majority of Android smartphones are still running 2.2/2.3 while most Android tablets are running 3.0/3.1/3.2.

Unlike what I would have expected, even as of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the default Android browser is not leading the pack of HTML5 compatible browsers. Actually, currently in the lead is the second version of RIM’s tablet OS which scores an impressive 329. Of course, this is still in development and even when it’s released, it won’t be running on all that many devices (burn! sorry, RIM). In that case, the real winner at the moment is actually Firefox Mobile 9, which sort of puts Android in the lead by a loophole (their platform allows such apps to exist!). Firefox Mobile 9 scores 313 which is doubly good because it can run on any Android device with 2.0 or beyond. After Firefox Mobile 9 is Safari on iOS 5 which trails not far behind with a score of 305.

So what does one take away from this? Well, if you’re on Android (even if you’re using the very latest version), it might be in your best interest to have a copy of Firefox installed for those times when you absolutely need a website to work. It’s fortunate for Android that Firefox is stepping up the game with HTML5 compatibility as the current most popular Android installs have relatively weak compatibility, and even the very latest build isn’t in the top 5.

And Then There’s Internet Explorer…

Oh, Internet Explorer. What a reputation you’ve earned for yourself. I’m so glad the world is no longer oppressed by your reign of terror; now we’ve got excellent alternatives like Chrome, Firefox, and others. It seems like Microsoft is doomed to have an inferior browser — even their new mobile offering, Windows Mobile 7, can’t escape the curse.

Though I still cringe when I see the IE icon on the Windows Phone 7 start screen, the browser actually works pretty well. It’s unobtrusive and quite responsive. When it comes to compatibility however, it doesn’t impress. When I first tested Windows Mobile 7, Internet Explorer scored a paltry 17 on the HTML5 test! The most modern mobile incarnation of Internet Explorer, found with WP 7.5 (Mango), still finds itself at the very bottom of the charts, scoring only 141 points.

The saddest part about this is that Windows Phone needs browser compatibility more than any of the others. Why? Because the platform is having a hard time attracting triple-A app developers. For users, this means that they may need to fall back to web-apps to make use of their favorite services. Without good compatibility support in the browser, web-apps aren’t guaranteed to work, even if they were designed to be multi-platform. The whole point of HTML5 as a standardized language is that being able to build one website that is fully functional, regardless of which device or browser is being used, is advantageous to both web developers and users. Because WP7 is one of the less adopted mobile platforms currently on the market, it’s unlikely that web developers are going to have custom-made web-apps created to function with the proprietary nature of IE on WP7. Instead, they’re going to make a web-standards compatible site that can work across multiple devices (especially considering that the most widespread platforms [Android and iOS] are among those with the best browser compatibility).

Develop a Web App, Win one of 5 Ultrabooks!

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We’ve given you a heads up (or two) about Intel’s AppUp application store wanting to expand into Ultrabooks. It’s a move that could even see some synergy in the Windows 8 Metro UI [Tenuous, Insider] and could be a serious earner for both Intel and developers but it needs seeding. That’s why Intel are offering prizes. In this case $250 for a Web app submission and and five chances to win an Ultrabook.

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Intel’s AppUp Expands with Focus on Ultrabooks

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Echoing what we reported a few days ago is the official announcement that AppUp, the Intel-funded app store for Meego, Windows and Tizen will expand its product focus out to all PCs. Originally Intel had a keen eye on the Atom ecosystem for AppUp but by moving to support HTML5 apps, they think that all PC platforms could benefit.

appup

Peter Biddle who heads-up the AppUp project at Intel had this to say in a blog post introducing the AppUp Elements conference in Seattle.

“Today we disclosed the expansion of the Intel AppUp program to support all PCs with a special focus on the new class of super-slim PCs known as UltrabooksTM. Intel expects as much as 40% of the worldwide laptop market next year to be captured by Ultrabooks, and with fast processors coupled with slick designs this is clearly another massive market for developers.”

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