Enterprise app makers not fully embracing HTML5 just yet

ITR Mobility's Nathan Clevenger, MeLLmo's Santiago Becerra, Rhomobile's Adam Blum, Verizon's Chris Kemmerer, and Salesforce.com's Sean Whiteley at Mobilize 2011. While developers working on business apps agree that development of HTML5 is coming along, they’re not ready to abandon native applications. At Mobilize 2011, the theme was hybrid.

Salesforce.com SVP Sean Whiteley, speaking from very recent experience, said his company hedged their bets with a hybrid solution for their upcoming application, Do.com.  He said Salesforce built it as a native app for iPhone and Android because they “didn’t want it to feel like a web app, it needed to be fast and snappy,” and it needed to take advantage of all the features available on the user’s iPhone or Android.

But for tablets, they did go HTML5. “We’re doing it all. We didn’t have to make a decision, we just had to figure out what to do using what. HTML5 is still not there yet, it’s very early, but we do believe it will evolve.”

Adam Blum, CEO of Rhomobile, agreed that such a choice between the two does not need to be made. “It’s not HTML5 versus native. It’s all about native apps. You need device capability… but [you] also [need to] leverage HTML5.”

That’s because it’s all about getting people to use those apps at work. If they’re not easy to use, they won’t be used, and Blum says that you need native apps for that because people aren’t comfortable working on the web all the time. “They need to know that when they save something to a device you save it,” he said as an example.

Santiago Becerra, CEO and co-founder of MeLLmo said that while there are advantages to hybrid applications that leverage both native and HTML5, there are some things that are “impossible” to recreate in HTMl5. “For high-end experiences you really have to go native,” he said.

Blum agreed that native will stay out in front of where HTML5 is for a while. “I don’t think HTML5 will keep up with [native] device capabilities, but I do think you owe it to yourself as an enterprise developer” to incorporate HTML5 in enterprise apps in some way.