I work for a company that is looking into moving into mobile web development. My question is, should we be using HTML5 for mobile websites? Or is it best to stick with XHTML?
I understand that there is a support issue, iPhone and Android support HTML5 but others don't? What would be the benefits of using HTML5 for mobile development?
Hi garydavison, welcome to SitePoint.
Remember that, for all the buzz, HTML5 is not finished yet, and as you note, many devices and browsers don't support it. When it is finished, there's no guarantee that it will be the same as now, either.
It is fun to jump the gun and try it out, but at this stage it's probably not in the interests of most of your mobile users. And it's worth noting that a lot of early browser problems with CSS resulted from browser makers jumping in before CSS was fully ready, so it's quite possible that the same thing is happening again with HTML5.
(non-expert here as well)
HTML5 offers 2 main advantages the way I see it:
- more "native" experience using animations and access to mobile features
- offline storage !!!
If you don't need it to look like a native iphone/android app, and don't need to store lots of data, then HTML5 is not that important.
However, if you want to create powerful "applications" for mobile devices in the future, then using HTML5 will probably be best (even Microsoft believes that HTML5 is the future, even over their own Silverlight).
If you want something "today", you should stick to current technologies. If you want something "tomorrow", then I would consider HTML5... but as ralph said, it isn't finished yet...
And, how much storage can a mobile store if a mobile can store storage?
The great thing about offline storage (especially for mobile users) is that you can save bandwidth costs as you can use a web application and load and save data to your harddrive instead of uploading/downloading all the data all the time.
This also means that you can use web applications even if you don't have any internet connection, which can save a lot of money if you're using your mobile abroad (as data traffic tends to be very expensive when abroad).
The offline storage is basically a larger local cache (5 mb limit I think ?) which will make the web applications faster and safer to use (if you lose internet connection etc).
^ good point, does the job of caching plus.
I've only looked a little at the (not HTML5) offline storage, but looked at it from the point of view that I'm already storing so much... now the browser will be taking up more room on my system to store stuff I've seen on teh internets?
I remember thinking "this doesn't belong on the client!!" when Anne van Kesteren gave his talk on it maybe a year ago, but if mobile browsers already have room for it anyway...