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Mobile is Changing the Web

01/15/11

It is amazing how far the internet has come since my first use of it back in my grade school days. Back then we were using dial-up connections and pages rarely contained more than your basic HTML markup with minimal styling or server side interaction. 20 years later we are able to connect to the internet from almost anywhere on almost any new portable electronic on the market such as: cell phones, PDA’s, laptops, net-books, gaming systems, tablet PC’s etc… There are multiple reasons why the web is starting to make a change for these devices but I will list just a few:

Consumers are swayed by convenience

Think about it, how many times during the day do we check the scores of our favorite sports teams on our sports phones, or watch you tube videos on our iPhones while in a lecture hall (come on we have all done it). Ever since the internet became extremely accessible to consumers away from their desktop computers the amount of traffic on the web has increased dramatically. Because of this, if your site is not optimized for mobile browsing a large portion of that traffic will not be viewing your site efficiently and in most circumstances, not at all.

The Introduction of Tablet Computers

Before the tablet computer was a viable option for computing, cell phones, laptops and desktop computers were our means to browse the internet. However, because of the small screen size of the average smartphone optimized pages would often be stripped down to their bare minimum requirements in order to be user friendly on the screen of a smartphone. With the introduction of tablet computers consumers now have a significantly large enough screen to view more detailed and complex web pages. With the recent release of the iPad, I can say from my experience browsing the web on one is far more enjoyable than using my blackberry and A LOT faster. Many people view tablet computers such as the recently released iPad or the soon to be released HP Slate as a device many people will not have use for. Well Apple sold 1,000,000 iPads the first month on the market, and those were not including the 3G models which just started shipping at the beginning of the month. Either there are a million people who bought on impulse or someone has a viable use for a device like this, and if it continues its popularity a lot of change is going to be happening on the web.

iPad – No Flash?!

Yes, you read correctly, Apples “Magical” iPad will not support Adobe Flash. Period. This means if your business or organization has a website that is highly dependent on Flash your page will not work. From a business standpoint this means that statistically you could have a million less hits on your website and the number is only going to increase further. What does this mean for web development? Well our web animation software has been pretty much taken away from us. This means a shift towards new technologies such as HTML 5 and other languages will be more important in the mobile web world. At this moment Apple intends on keeping Flash support away from the iPad but as for the future we can only sit and listen.

These changes in technology seem so small to most average consumers in the world, but from a web development standpoint it is huge. These changes in technology drive the changes in technologies we use in coding our applications for the web and mobile devices. As long as hardware technology advances it will continue to push web development technologies to new and unexplored levels.