Mozilla

HTML5 Web applications and libraries survey – first results

At Mozilla, we are dedicated to keep the web open and independent of a single company or technology. This means that users should have a choice of browsers and technology to use to go online and should not be blocked out because they can’t afford a certain device or are forbidden to change their browser.

In the world of mobile web development there is currently a massive debate going on about the need for support of various browsers seeing that the most successful phone systems both use the same browser engine. This is good, and we need this debate. It is not good though when developers block out users because they concentrate on targetting a browser. Sometimes this is not by choice of the developer – they are simply using tools that do that blocking for them and the usefulness of the tool outweighs the qualms developers have about that.

We are now planning to talk to library and tool developers and help them support more than one browser engine to prevent this. As a start of that process we wanted to get a glimpse of what people are using right now so we make sure we have the most impact when we help. This is why we started a quick online survey asking developers about their tools for mobile development.

We are happy to report that to date we have 480 answers and it is time to take a first stab at looking at the data.

We are very aware that this is *not* a scientifically clean research and should be taken with a grain of salt (we haven’t asked how many times people used the tools or how much of their work is building mobile apps) but it gives us a good first glimpse at what makes most sense for us to do.

So without further ado, here are the raw numbers as charts:

Platforms

Not many surprises there, iOS and Android are in the lead, quite a lot of people see the web as a must-have (but this is a survey called out by Mozilla…) and Blackberry and Windows Mobile are not that hight on people’s radar.

What platforms are you targeting with your apps – iOS
focus 208 43%
must have 168 35%
supported 43 9%
sometimes 24 5%
not at all 36 8%
What platforms are you targeting with your apps – Android
focus 147 31%
must have 183 38%
supported 85 18%
sometimes 33 7%
not at all 31 6%
What platforms are you targeting with your apps – Blackberry
focus 5 1%
must have 11 2%
supported 83 17%
sometimes 136 28%
not at all 244 51%
What platforms are you targeting with your apps – Web
focus 306 64%
must have 121 25%
supported 26 5%
sometimes 18 4%
not at all 8 2%
What platforms are you targeting with your apps – Windows phone
focus 8 2%
must have 36 8%
supported 112 23%
sometimes 137 29%
not at all 186 39%

Libraries

jQuery rules supreme but Sencha touch and Zepto also have their place. Interestingly enough a lot of answers discarded libraries completely and considered them an overhead that will cause damage in the future.

What libraries do you use to build mobile web apps/sites?
jQuery 349 73%
jQuery mobile 248 52%
Zepto.js 90 19%
JO 5 1%
XUI.js 18 4%
Sproutcore 7 1%
Sencha touch 72 15%
JQTouch 50 10%
Mootools mobile 11 2%
M project 1 0%
Nimblekit 2 0%
Lime.js 9 2%
Wink 1 0%
Uxebu Bikeshed 1 0%
Other 126 26%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Conversion frameworks

You do love your PhoneGap / Cordova, it seems. There is not too much competition in this market and a lot of feedback was questioning the sense of converting apps as “building them natively makes more sense”.

Which frameworks do you use to convert apps to native apps?
PhoneGap 257 90%
Appcellerator 45 16%
MoSync 2 1%
Other 31 11%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Visual editors

The space of visual editors seems to be not to frequented with this audience – would be interesting to see if there is already a mass market for WYSIWYG-like tools in the web app space.

Do you use any visual tools/converters to build apps? If so, which?
Adobe Edge 14 35%
Sencha Animator 9 23%
Other 18 45%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Webkit only?

71% of the audience saying they test on other browsers than webkit is making us happy of course, but seeing that a lot of the tools in use are webkit only makes that number questionable. Then again, we didn’t qualify what testing entices in this case.

Do you test on non-Webkit browsers?
Yes 340 71%
No 139 29%

Reasons to test for webkit only

The main reason here is a lack of time to test on other platforms which is understandable – we can assume that a lot of projects from a planning perspective have 99% iOS/Android written all over them. The “lack of incentive” number is high, too, which is understandable – if you can’t show the numbers, you don’t get the time to support.

If no, can you tell us why?
Fixed environment defined by client needs 36 23%
Lack of time to support more browser platforms 85 54%
Lack of incentive – I don’t know what the benefit of supporting more is 65 42%
Lack of documentation how to install and debug on non-webkit browsers 39 25%
Bugginess of other browsers on test platforms 24 15%
Lack of support for other browsers on target hardware 55 35%
Other 16 10%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

More to come

These are just the numbers right now. Soon we’ll be publishing also the free-form comments we got but for now this should get some discussion going and gives us a great start.

And finally – a massive thank you for everybody who participated in this survey!

2 comments

Comments are now closed.

  1. Shane O’Sullivan wrote on July 31st, 2012 at 08:48:

    Is there a reason that Dojo was not included here? I’d imagine it’s more popular that some of the other libraries that got just one vote

  2. Hannix wrote on February 17th, 2013 at 14:08:

    This is interesting, too. A survey for framework and library developers.

    This is a survey about information needs that arise in such software ecosystems. I need your help to fill out the survey below.

    A software ecosystem can be a project repository like GitHub, an open source community (e.g. the Apache community) or a language-based community (e.g. Smalltalk has Squeaksource, Ruby has Rubyforge).

    We formulate our research question as follows:
    “What information needs arise when developers use code from other projects, or see their own code used elsewhere.”

    survey link: http://bit.ly/14Zc71N

Comments are closed for this article.