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One question that we are often asked is “does HTML5 solve the client application issues on using Tablets or Smartphones”

Our view on this issue is simple “this is the wrong question”.

The way that the client application is built is irrelevant to the provision of content to that application. The key factor from an end-users perspective is

“can I get the content I want quickly, and can I change that as quickly”.

Delivering the content, not the GUI the end-user views it in, is the key factor to building content sensitive applications for tablets and smartphones.

The debate on HTML5, WebDav, Java, Objective C, etc are all missing the point. What runs on the client is largely irrelevant.

If the HTML5 interface on the platform has access to the Keychain or equivalent, can encrypt the data, and can work effectively with a push stream and background tasks, then great. I doubt it can, and so the GUI would be HTML5, but to do “real” apps you would need to do some more native coding, with an HTML5 wrapper.

However as I say this really is missing the point.

To deliver fully secured, flexible and centrally controlled Apps, the client / server model is the only one that works. The client front-end needs to connect to a set of services at the server side to be enabled, to get content and to provide flexible fast search and retrieval services against archived data.

How not to do it is the T3 example, and I think T3 is an App everyone should get for the content. But the delivery is awful. T3 magazine has a tremendous HTML5 based interface, but relies totally on downloading an entire high quality image based website per edition of the magazine. And each is independent. So the download takes 30 minutes on wifi, and once you are in the magazine finding anything is a matter of luck. There is no cross reference between magazine, no indexing that is effective, and you can’t track information across stories. Form over function entirely. Looks great, functions very badly.

How to do it is the worldflow approach. Let the user choose what content they are interested in from the server, against their allowed set of information, and let the user browse, search, and work offline with that information. All of the information is handled on the server end, and the client application is secured, and entirely server driven, but can function with loaded data online or offline.

This kind of secured and controlled approach is well suited to Financial Services applications, such as Research, Corporate Finance and Trading as well as Insurance, Accountancy, Legal flows. Or indeed any other industry where the control and management of the content is more important to the process, than providing a connection to an already bloated and unmanageable web site.

Directed content is the way to go on the tablet, and smartphone, and will increasingly drive more intelligent content back to the web. Moving away from the “we’ve got everything you could ever need, now find it” to “this is all that you want right now, but tell us when you want something different“. This is the approach that worldflow take in our mobile content management, and we firmly believe that this is the approach that best suits the end-user needs.

The real goal of content sensitive applications is in giving the end-user what they want, whilst still controlling centrally what they can get is the real issue for Tablet and Smartphone Apps.

And a server driven content delivery, with a flexible but secure client GUI, the approach worldflow have taken, is the approach we believe delivers this goal.

Contact worldflow for more details on our tablet / smartphone applications, and for details of the way content can be managed more effectively through this kind of model.

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