1. HTML5 vs. Flash – Waste of an Argument?

    As the iPad gained popularity and Steve Job’s resistance to Flash stayed the course, the issue became “If not Flash, then what?” which prompted plenty of heated arguments over the merits of each technology. Sure, Flash requires a separate download, Flash has security issues, on and on… But is HTML5 robust enough to take on the king of web animation? Not yet.

    Choosing The Best Technology

    Instead of arguing over which technology will ultimately win the war, I’d rather focus on choosing the right one for a given project. Sure, HTML5 is new and has a long way to go before it catches up with Flash, but the future is promising thanks to aggressive developer efforts. Plus, HTML5 offers some things that Flash does not, and it is an open language – not a proprietary technology whose future is determined by a big company. So, How do you know which is right for your project?

    HTML5 Compatibility

    The main hurdle we face today with HTML5 is browser compatibility. Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari all have varying levels of support, while IE trails far behind. Add to that the fact that Internet Explorer does not have an aggressive upgrade approach like Firefox, which (constantly) prompts it’s users to upgrade with each new release. IE is also widely used in the corporate world, where a browser update can mean broken intranets, web applications and other related mayhem, so full compatibility is still a couple of years away at the earliest.

    Breaking Down the Issues

    A recent project inquiry prompted me to face the HTML5/Flash topic head on. If you take some of the big issues with each technology and break them down, you can narrow your choices down quite easily. Does the content need to display on iPad or iPhone? Use HTML5. Is SEO a concern? Use HTML5. Sure, there are some workarounds for SEO in Flash, but let’s not get too far off. Is the animation and multimedia very complex? Use Flash. Sorry HTML5 aficionados, but HTML5 just isn’t there yet. Not even close really. No doubt this will change over time, with the HTML5 language gaining traction quickly.

    For Now, Use Either As Needed

    Flash isn’t going away any time soon, and still reigns supreme for complex animations and interactivity…just not on iPads or iPhones! There’s always Apple’s XCode if you need a rich graphic/multimedia app for those platforms, but for the web we are ‘stuck’ with HTML5. I say pick the one that works best for the job and worry about the battle between technologies another day! I’m off to learn some more HTML5 coding…

  2. Web Applications: Development Beyond Contact Forms

    web apps for business

    Whether it’s a corporate intranet or public-facing website, businesses often under-utilize the power of the web. Once their site is up and running with the bare-necessities, they usually leave it untouched for months or even years, much to the detriment of the site itself. Going beyond the basic ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact’ pages can make a site more engaging for visitors and more productive for a company and it’s employees.

    web apps for business

    What is Possible With Web Apps?

    From the most basic contact form to elaborate accounting systems, today’s web application architectures can support complex programming and database functionality, making modern web applications behave similarly to desktop apps like Word or Excel. Job applications, banking services, appointment setting apps and more can be built to live right on a web server, available to users with no installation or complicated software update processes. Web apps can also be designed for compatibility with any type of computer, be it PC or Mac. Why limit your users based on the hardware they choose?

    Adapting Desktop Applications to Web Apps

    On a past project, I was tasked with translating an existing support desk ticket system to a web-based application. The existing program needed to be installed on each user’s PC, requiring valuable support time from the help desk, as well as compatibility troubleshooting for each new operating system change that occurred, making the desktop app more trouble than it was worth. Moving to a web-based system meant that software updates could be done once on the server and would be instantly ‘rolled out’ to all users. In addition, users could access the program from any computer with internet access, whether it was from home via a VPN (virtual private network) or via the corporate office computers.

    Security For Web Apps

    A well-designed application can utilize the same security technology as your bank or a government website, with the proper security measures built-in to ensure the data is safe from hackers or other prying eyes. Secure logins and encrypted data transfers make sure the database and user info are protected from attacks, while giving full access to the app’s users where needed. Modern browsers support these technologies better than ever before, making them a solid platform for secure web-based business software.

    Informing Business Owners of the Options Available

    As mentioned before, most sites stop at the basic static pages, never taking advantage of the myriad web application possibilities available. A web project manager or developer should help the company identify processes that could benefit from a software solution. Many day-to-day functions could be streamlined to save hundreds or thousands of man-hours, thus saving the company money. Private intranet sites and internal applications are more and more common these days for large companies, but can also be utilized by small businesses trying to cut down on costs by reducing tedious jobs or recurring tasks that would be well-suited to a web app. Some Examples are: appointment setting programs, calendar apps, order taking apps, custom contact or information request forms, accounting software, or employee scheduling apps. Mobile web applications are another entirely new frontier, offering portable functionality with the same access as desktop apps with a simple, mobile-friendly interface. The possibilities are truly endless, and in many cases the app itself can help to generate new business, by engaging the customer in new ways.

    Leverage the Web’s Power and Reap the Rewards

    On your next web project, think beyond the same old static content and find some ways to incorporate web software solutions that help increase your productivity. Chances are there are existing business processes that would be well-suited to a browser-based program, or new creative solutions that could be introduced that will enhance the business and save valuable employee time.

    Contact Jgm3 today for a free web app consultation