JP Mangalindan 2011-09-01


    但这并不意味着HTML5没有缺陷。与原生应用相比,HTML5应用通常会有不少限制。拿LinkedIn举例来说,虽然功能相差不大,但HTML5应用的用户界面明显要逊色不少。此外,一些移动设备上的配件,例如摄像头,目前仍是HTML5的“禁区”。 LinkedIn移动产品负责人乔夫•雷德芬解释称,“一般来说,在某些特定领域,原生应用的表现更好,例如多媒体图片和照片就是如此。有时候使用HTML5的难度更大一些。还有一些领域,例如随时间不断展开的‘无限列表’,用原生代码处理就要便捷得多。”Box.net的列维也承认一些特定编程任务很难用HTML5实现,例如获取iPhone和iPad内置的Safari浏览器以实现文件上传。

    另一个难题是分发。苹果应用程序商店(App Store)和谷歌安卓市场(Android Marketplace)之所以流行,一定程度上是因为它们降低了原生应用的准入门槛。现在,除了谷歌初出茅庐的Chrome应用商店,我们还没发现其它有分量的网络应用商店。而且消费者对HTML5也知之甚少,他们可能仅仅了解亚马逊、苹果和谷歌这些品牌。



    LinkedIn (LNKD) and Box.net's HTML5 apps, meanwhile, use the technology for different reasons. While Amazon's Cloud Reader seems intent on becoming the primary web app for Kindle users, LinkedIn's is merely supposed to complement apps developed for Android and iOS. In other words, users who don't own either type of device will still get functionality that approximates the native app. Same goes for Box.net's new web-based offering. Although the Palo Alto-based cloud storage provider uses some HTML5 coding in its main site, it didn't fully embrace the Web technology until more recently thanks to a new wave of engineers. "We probably could have supported it a year ago," says Box.net CEO Aaron Levie. He says HTML5's increasingly powerful tools blur the lines between Web and cloud, desktop and client-like functionality.

    That doesn't mean the technology doesn't face obstacles. HTML5 apps are often limited when compared with their native counterparts. In LinkedIn's case, the feature sets are similar but the user interface is noticeably less flashy. Some mobile device's assets, like the camera, remain off-limits to HTML5. "Generally, there are certain areas where native is going to do better for you, like media photos and pictures," explains Joff Redfern, LinkedIn's mobile product head. "It's sometimes a little harder to get at via HTML5. Other areas, like say, 'infinite lists' that scroll with dates that continue on and on, are handled a lot more gracefully in native code." Box.net's Levie admits certain programming tasks are still difficult to achieve in HTML, like getting the iPhone and iPad's built-in Safari browser to allow file uploads.

    Another problem is distribution. Apple's App Store and Google's Android Marketplace are partly popular because they keep the barriers to entry low for native apps. Currently, there aren't many equivalent web app stores besides Google's fledgling Chrome app store. And, consumers don't have an awareness of HTML5, the way they might of the Amazon, Apple or Google brands.

    What's certain is that HTML5 will likely play a pivotal role as companies position themselves vis-a-vis each others' devices and marketplaces. It may take years before new HTML5 apps tackle more rigorous tasks that process lots of data, like video editing for instance. In the mean time, more and more major firms are likely to find the technology's flexibility and low costs too tantalizing to resist.