[Note, this article was originally published at Read Write Hack http://readwrite.com/2013/02/22/html5-10-provocative-predictions-for-the-future]
Tizen, meanwhile, enjoys broad industry backing from Intel, Samsung, NEC, Panasonic, Sprint, Huawei and Vodafone (among many others), and engineering stewardship in The Linux Foundation. It shows the most potential to challenge Android as the “more open” (read: more customizable) open source device platform, which should appeal to device makers.
A growing number of sites are once again buildiing Web apps tested to work in only one browser. Like the “Made for Internet Explorer” badges of the 1990s, developers are now proudly advertising “Made for Chrome” in their apps. Not using Chrome? No guarantees. This trend is likely to accelerate in 2013. With a rapidly evolving, highlycapable browser platform that is available on virtually every major operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and kinda iOS), and a Webkit foundation that helps deliver a little extra compatibility with other non-Chrome browsers (like Safari and BlackBerry browser), developers are likely to conclude that the “good outweighs the bad” when it comes to building exclusively for Chrome. In exchange for potentially alienating some users, developers building for Chrome can more aggressively leverage HTML5 APIs and save valuable development and testing time.
Internet Explorer 10 is widely regarded as a huge step forward for the venerable Microsoft browser. With more support than ever for Web standards, IE10 goes a long way to put Microsoft’s browser in the modern HTML5 conversation. But as fast-updating browsers like Chrome and Firefox race forward through 2013, IE will once again be left looking old and slow. There is a glimmer of hope that Microsoft will evolve IE more quickly: The Microsoft-owned HTML5 Labs, launched originally in the IE9 days, is continuing to publish new “experimental” improvements for IE10 that make it an even more capable HTML5 browser. Baby steps, but still a good sign.
While IE10 will be in the spotlight, the long death march for Microsoft’s older IE versions will continue. Only the most stubborn corporate environments (and China) still require IE6 support, and much of the world skipped IE7 anyway. If you haven't already stopped supporting IE6 and IE7, 2013 is definitely your year. Dropping IE8 is a bit more of a stretch, but the pressure is on. Not only does IE10’s release make IE8 two versions old (often used as a “clean” support cut-off justification), but jQuery 2.0 will join Google Apps in cutting-off IE8 in 2013. By the end of the year, most developers will conclude IE8 is not worth their time.
Until recently, it looked like we had another IE6 on our hands with Android 2.x (Eclair, Froyo and Gingerbread). According to Google’s own stats, as recently as mid-2012, these versions of Android (mostly 2.3.x) represented more than 90% of all Android devices in use, despite the fact that Google was already shipping Android 4+! Google was failing to keep its Android user base (and ecosystem) upgrading. Fortunately, the 2012 holiday season seems to have broken the logjam. Usage of Android 4+ (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean) surged to nearly 40% at the end of 2012. By the end of 2013, Android 2.x will likely account for less than 15% of the market, and Android developers will be able to shift focus to versions 4+.
So far, responsive design has remained on the fringes of Web development - something nice to do “if you have time." That's about to change. With the lines between PCs and mobile devices increasingly blurred, developers will have no choice but to develop websites and apps that can dynamically adapt to an unpredictable array of screen sizes and resolutions.
To ease the way, look for new techniques and defacto standards to also emerge, offering guidance for properly dealing with different device capabilities and form factors.
It doesn’t take an expensive analyst to see the growth in phones and tablets while traditional PCs fade. Right now is the moment when developers will begin spending more time developing software for mobile devices than for traditional desktop PCs, extending from the consumer market to businesses of all sizes, for both internal and external audiences. If you’re not developing for devices in 2013, you’re either A) maintaining legacy software, or B) missing the boat.
The HTML conversation (and technology) will continue to evolve, even if the version numbers don’t come along for the ride.
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