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HTML5 and Its Impact on Tech Careers

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For web designers looking to make a transition into application development, HTML5 may just be your ticket through the door this year. For the past several years, the future of HTML5 as a web standard has always been just out of reach, seemingly just another couple more years away. Part of this reason has been that support on the most popular web browsers has been slow to emerge. Additionally, when it comes to mobile web devices, there has always been some speculation as to whether or not Flash would emerge as the standard, as it has been for computers. However it appears that 2012 may finally be the year that sees the big boom for HTML5 web pages and mobile web applications.

Multiple Platform Support

One of the chief benefits of HTML5 today is that it allows developers to build an application that can be used on the iPhone and iPad, Android and Windows Phone, in addition to computer web browsers. Currently, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari all support HTML5. Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 has less support, but will be at about the same level with the others with Internet Explorer 10.

The Mobile Web

With 116 million people in the United States alone able to browse web pages on their mobile devices (according to a 2011 Nielsen survey), it's no secret that mobile web pages and applications are a growing concern for businesses to reach consumers.

It is unlikely that companies like Apple will be going on a hiring spree for HTML5 developers, but the device manufacturers are not the market here. The real market is every company, large and small, that wants to connect with its customers across multiple devices. Previously, if a business wanted an interactive website, they would generally go to Flash. If they wanted an iPhone application, an Android application, and a Windows Phone application, they would be looking at different developers for each platform. With HTML5, the application needs to be only built once, then customized as needed for the needs of each device.

Why Now?

Up until the end of 2011, it appeared that Adobe Flash may have had a future as a cross-platform technology for mobile web devices, even as Adobe battled Apple for inclusion on Apple's iOS iPhone and iPad. This all changed in November 2011 when Adobe announced that it was abandoning Flash for mobile devices in favor of HTML5. "HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively," wrote Danny Winokur, Adobe VP and General Manager of Interactive Development. "This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers."

The fact that Adobe itself has officially come onside in its support for HTML5 makes it a good bet that 2012 will be the year HTML5 really comes of age. Microsoft, Pandora, The Financial Times and Good Housekeeping are just some of the companies using HTML5 for mobile web applications - and the list is growing.

Getting Started

While job listings for developers with experience in HTML5 are still scarce today, this makes it the perfect time to begin building your skills if you're a web developer or beginning programmer who is interested in exploring web-based applications as a career. If you have not yet worked with it, you can start by familiarizing yourself with the recent evolution and capabilities of HTML5. There are already a lot of great tutorials for building HTML5 mobile applications available, including step-by-step instructions and sample codes. Examples can be found in Apple's Safari Developer Library and other websites like CatsWhoCode or Six Revisions.

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