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Dev warns of HTML5 app manifests failure

HTML5 expert and Opera web evangelist Bruce Lawson has warned the development of HTML5 apps could be held back due to vendor squabbling and a tendency towards silos.

Lawson asked if HTML5 app manifests are "emulating failure" with numerous packaging formats forcing devs to choose a platform. He likened this to the browser wars and battle for online rich media formats.

Speaking to .net, Lawson agreed that the current situation was veering too close to replacing app-store silos with vendor-specific web-app silos. This could also threaten any big shift on mobile towards the web and away from native apps.

“The biggest danger to the web was — and is — the lack of interoperability between browsers,” he confirmed. On existing problems, he hoped they would be resolved: “Interoperability has been largely addressed for websites by HTML5, to the great credit of the competing browser vendors who've worked together to make this happen. Let's hope the System Applications Working Group can achieve this for applications, too.”.

However, reporting on the Edge conference, Lawson wondered if such a thing would be achievable in the near future. He noted that although everyone agreed vendor-proprietary manifest formats for packaged formats would detrimentally affect uptake and the web as a whole, “no-one expressed any willingness to standardise” this.

Lawson added that the same was true for device APIs, an example being Microsoft’s Pointer Events API, which Chrome and Opera are fond of, Mozilla has been silent on, and Apple appears hostile towards.