Review: HTML5 Mobile Web Development (video series) by Jake Carter

During this video series, the instructor provides a thorough introduction to HTML5/CSS3
development.  In the first part of the course he walks us through development of a
mobile Twitter application.  In my opinion, the course is better than a “live” class (I can
do the examples at my own pace) – but there are some issues to consider:

– The material is Apple-centric.  While he uses iPhone/iPad simulators and an Android
Emulator to test each new feature in the Twitter app, Jake develops on a Mac, and emphasizes Apple mobile devices. I’m not sure how efficient and/or distracting it would be to do the labs in a Wintel/Android environment.

– Browser HTML5 compliance varies greatly; only the newest devices are compliant enough to render the html5/css3 content as one would expect.  The course uses an Android 2.2 Emulator and iPhone/iPhone4 Simulators.  They had no problems rendering the html5/css3 as expected; when I used an Android 2.1 phone or Firefox to browse the same files, they rendered incorrectly.

This last issue highlights the fragmented nature of today’s Smart Phone market.  And in fairness, it is beyond the scope of this video course.  But, choosing a toolset is a strategic challenge for the developer:  Least common denominator? Native Applications? HTML5?

Given the half-life of Android OS versions, Mobile HTML5 will be ubiquitous in two years.
If your goal is to develop for iPhone/iPad and Android 2.2+, then html5 seems to be the path forward.  However, if you need to consider the millions of 1.5, 1.6, and 2.1 Android devices as well, then html4/css2, native app programming, or a framework (Appcelerator) are necessary.  In either case, this course provides a great hands-on introduction to this technology.

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