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Why Is LinkedIn Walking Away from HTML5?

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Not even a year ago, LinkedIn came out with an iPad app that it proudly proclaimed to be almost “fully mobile Web based,” not native as most mobile apps are.

The decision to use HTML5 with a heavy inclination towards Node.js raised not just a few eyebrows. LinkedIn has been known to be conservative, yet they have supported HTML5 rather than native apps.

However, almost a year after that, LinkedIn had an abrupt change of heart and came out with a new version of its mobile app, now being fully native.

In an interview with Venture Beat’s Jolie O’Dell, LinkedIn senior director for mobile engineering Kiran Prasad revealed that the reason behind the move is that HTML5 was heavily reliant on memory and it did not really do animation that well.

Prasad, however, was quick to say that it was not performance issues that lead to the decision to go back to native mobile apps.

What does HTML5 need to succeed?

Prasad also says that the company is not giving up on HTML5, but there needs to be more tooling support for HTML5. He explains that with native apps, Apple and Android usually have building tools that developers could use. This is not the case with HTML5.

Prasad also mentions that HTML5 has operability issues and that there are only a few tools to help out with that.

What LinkedIn found out with its almost a year’s experience with HTML5 mobile apps is that because there are really no tools out there to help make development easier, it is just not ready for prime time. Does this mean that we should all just junk it and discount it as an almost run? Not really. HTML5 has all the workings of a great platform, and all it needs is just one big push. You can still create a great HTML5 mobile app, given the time and patience and a lot of careful planning.

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