HTML5 and Mobile CRM

HTML5 is a quite hot topic in the current IT world, especially in a mobile, very heterogeneous environment with several mobile platforms available. And since every mobile platform provides different developer tools and technologies, native apps development causes a lot of challenges and usually means doing the same job by several different developer teams with different technologies, where only a small portion of the source code can be shared.

On the other side, HTML5 is platform independent, so the same HTML and JavaScript code can be reused across all platforms. At first sight, it looks like a great solution. But is it ready for real business scenarios such as Mobile CRM?

Resco has been dealing with HTML5 technology for some time now; and it looks like a promising choice to consider specifically for our Mobile CRM product. Currently there are three scenarios for Resco Mobile CRM& HTML5:

  1. Native app – is the current mobile application, which is being used by all our existing customers and is available in all app stores or marketplaces under the name Resco Mobile CRM. The performance of the app is very good in online as well as offline mode, and the entire UI is very responsive. The app is developed on .NET developer platform, allowing the sharing of most of the source code across supported mobile platforms. Anyway, there are also platform dependent parts that have to be solved individually. The whole development environment is quite complex and requires advanced developer skills of .NET and C# programming language.
  2. Hybrid app – is also a native app which runs some parts of its UI in an embedded browser component. From a user’s prospective, native and HTML parts of the UI can look and behave very similar. The main problem can be the performance. From our experience, we see that this solution works fine only on newer devices (iOS 5+, Android 4+). On older devices, the user can face quite slow response while working with the HTML5 UI. With Resco Mobile CRM, we have two strategies how to provide the hybrid app.
    1. HTML5 extensions – is already supported and allows extending the current native app by new HTML5 based UI. This new UI can load/save local CRM data thanks Resco JavaScript Bridge. This scenario can be used for example for building special reports or alternative views with editing capabilities. There are several cases where this technology has been already used.
    2. Full HTML5 UI – is a new native app that consists of native data layer and whole UI implemented with HTML5 and JavaScript. For this purpose, we created a new application with limited functionality, mainly for demo purposes. It is available on app stores under the name Resco Mobile CRM HTML [ZF1] . We keep improving this new app with new UI/functionality and we plan to have the full version ready by the end of 2013.

    Big advantage of both scenarios is that HTML5 parts can be developed/ customized by well-known web technologies and the same source code can be reused across all mobile platforms. You can find more info about this topic at http://www.resco.net/mobilecrm/html5.aspx

  3. HTML5 app – is a browser based app running HTML5 and JavaScript code only. Although there is a support to provide offline data capabilities, the possibilities and performance of such data layer would be questionable. Moreover this technology restricts the app from using phone features such as embedded camera, microphone, or built-in PIN data such as calendar, contacts… So there are quite significant disadvantages of this solution and I believe that we should be patient and wait at least 1-2 years until HTML5 and related technologies will be ready for real business scenarios.

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