Click here to close now.


Silverlight Authors: Gerardo A Dada, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, Silverlight

PowerBuilder: Article

Perhaps I Haven’t Made Myself Clear...

I’ve been discussing HTML5 for some time now

I've been discussing HTML5 for some time now. In July of 2010, I mentioned that I wasn't particularly concerned about PowerBuilder supporting HTML5 in the initial PowerBuilder.NET release (12.5) because:

  • "HTML5 is largely still in its infancy, and there appears to be too much opportunity for it to fragment as previous HTML standards have done." [1]

In December of 2010 I devoted an entire editorial to HTML5 [2], noting that:

  • "I have some basic concerns that make me reluctant to recommend using HTML5 as the basis for any line of business application development in the near future."

But also recommending that as far as a future version of PowerBuilder, Sybase should:

  • "Still focus on Silverlight, still work on HTML5 as well, and give us the capability of generating applications that implement both. If the Silverlight player is available, use that, and if not then downgrade to HTML5. That will ensure that we have the capability to deploy apps until such time as HTML5 is mature and capable of being handled by a majority of machines, but also allows the app to work on non-Silverlight enabled devices provided there is a HTML5 browser available to it."

In July of 2011 [3], I again looked at HTML5 and concluded:

  • "I expect to see a significant increase in the market penetration of tablet devices in the near future, and that the majority of application development done for those devices will be the development of native apps, not web [e.d. HTML5] apps."

HTML5 also got a passing reference in my editorial for November of 2011 [4], in which I noted:

  • "I still believe it's an immature technology."

But also that since Windows 8 is supposed to support the use of HTML5 to generate desktop applications that

  • "It's beginning to look like HTML5 may become not only the best long-term bet for web deployment, but for desk-top deployment as well."

Why do I bring all this up? Because in January of 2012 I penned yet another article where I mentioned HTML5 [5], and some people seem to think that last article represented some sort of conversion experience and that I was now a HTML5 fan boy.

So, just to make sure everything is clear, I'd like to review what I said there, compare that to what I said in these earlier articles, and then elaborate a bit further to make sure there's no confusion.

What I said in the January 2012 article, was:

  • "While HTML5 may be the future, the future isn't here yet. [...] Nonetheless, the lesson we might take away is that HTML5 currently isn't suitable for line of business application development, though it may be in a few years."

I've highlighted a couple of terms in that quote as well as from the previous quotes, because I think they're crucial in understanding what I've been saying for some time. I do not believe that HTML5 is currently a mature technology suitable for the generation of enterprise line of business applications. It may be in a few years, it currently isn't. I have to agree with the assessment of Mike James in his iProgrammer article [6] that HTML5 currently is "...another one of those false marketing ideas with very little substance" and that with reference to Microsoft's shift away from Silverlight to HTML5 that it was "...perhaps the most reckless abandonment of a technology in the history of technology." Don't get the wrong idea from those quotes, Mike goes on to explain why the eventual adoption of HTML5 could be a good thing. He's just noting that somebody needs to "work on the underpinnings that we need to turn it into a usable technology."

As Mike mentions in his article, and Richard Holdsworth goes into some detail about in his own piece in TechCruch Europe [7], when you visit an HTML5 website what is really doing the heavy lifting, not HTML5 itself, but JavaScript and CSS [8]. How much of the heavy lifting? Let's take the recently released HTML5 version of Cut the Rope as an example. Of course, Cut the Rope started out as an iPhone application, and it runs quite well on such mobile devices (it was later released for Android and just recently for the Sony Playbook). They recently made it available for HTML5 browsers by porting the OpenGL code over to the HTML5 canvas API and the Objective C code over to JavaScript. How much JavaScript? 15,000 lines running in the browser. [9] And what do I get when I run it in Safari on my iPad? This screenshot shown in Figure 1.

"A little too slow?" You've taken an application that used to run fine on the device, ported it to HTML5, and now it's essentially unusable there. I guess I'm not impressed. I actually get that same message with most other browsers than IE 9 running on a laptop. The primary reason that it even runs well in IE (and only IE 9) is because IE 9 pre-compiles the JavaScript on a background thread.

Don't get me wrong. I do look forward to the day when we can create and run applications that will run on multiple devices in different browsers and will perform adequately on them all and do that without having to use plugins. HTML5 offers the promise of making that happen. However, it hasn't delivered on that promise yet. When it has, I'll endorse it enthusiastically. Until then, I can only recommend it as something to watch and learn for the future, but not to use for production applications today.


  8. When most people refer to HMTL5, they are most likely referring to the combination of HTML5, JavaScript, CSS and other web standards (e.g., WebSocket). HTML5 alone would give us very little functionality.

More Stories By Bruce Armstrong

Bruce Armstrong is a development lead with Integrated Data Services ( A charter member of TeamSybase, he has been using PowerBuilder since version 1.0.B. He was a contributing author to SYS-CON's PowerBuilder 4.0 Secrets of the Masters and the editor of SAMs' PowerBuilder 9: Advanced Client/Server Development.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
bruce.armstrong 05/08/12 02:11:00 PM EDT

Somebody just said it better than I did, and with more chops to say it:

Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg & Facebook Mobile

@ThingsExpo Stories
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).