It's a pretty bold and hubristic endeavor to go around prognosticating about what the future will look like. If anyone ever read an old article from the 50's that discussed what a modern kitchen would look like in the year 2000, then you have a good idea about just how wrong even the smartest people can be when it comes to envisioning the future.

But there were no visible fears when it came to prognosticating about the future of mobile at this year's Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in Las Vegas. And what was one of the big predictions when it comes to the world of mobile application development? It was the assertion that future mobile development will be all about embracing the Web standard, with a corresponding movement away from native application development.

The Web isn’t winning in the mobile space

"When it comes to mobile development, the Web isn't winning" says Gartner VP and Fellow David Mitchell Smith. But the assertion is that as time moves on, the Web will start to win, and native development will become just an aberration of the past.

And this includes not only full, pure, HTML5 plays on mobile devices, but also hybrid applications that use CSS and JavaScript, but are themselves then packaged in a native wrapper that can be easily sold in an app store.

Don’t hold your breath for HTML6

Of course, Web-based mobile development might benefit from fundamental changes to the underlying standard, but given the fact that HTML4 has been around for fourteen years, along with the fact that HTML5 still hasn't been standardized, don't expect a mobile-friendly HTML6 standard to come along any time soon. Web-based mobile applications are going to have to make the most of the current standards. Of course, Web-based applications made great strides in terms of scripting and AJAX, despite being burdened by the prehistoric HTML4 spec. "Ajax was built on HTML4" says Gartner's Distinguished Analyst Anne Thomas Manes. But despite the version 4 underpinnings, "Web pages today are radically different to the way there were in the year 2000."

And it makes sense that the future would push towards a development strategy that is much more simplified, and one that doesn't require the development of a new, native application for every new mobile OS that hits the market. So, according to Gartner, the big change in the mobile game will be the move away from native development, and a move towards the standard technologies of the Web. It would certainly be a positive improvement over the mobile development landscape of today, but until the Web-based tools and frameworks catch up to the corresponding native ones, we won't see an end to native application development in the mobile space for a while.

Edited by: JDenman on Nov 29, 2012 5:06 PM