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Google Web Designer tool to make HTML5 on mobile a reality?

By Cameron McKenzie

16 Sep 2013 | TheServerSide.com

Not sure if you've heard the news, but Google is about to release a new HTML5/CSS3 web development tool. That's apparently the inside scoop, revealed with very little pomp and circumstance in Neal Mohan's official DoubleClick Advertiser blog. Don't ask what it will do, or what it will look like, or what features it will contain, because nobody who is allowed to speak on the matter definitively knows. But that doesn't mean we can't make up a bunch of stuff and prognosticate about things we don't know about.

Don't expect too much from the early versions of GWD, but do expect Google to keep improving it.

Bobby Kelly, Web Marketing Strategist

I don't have big expectations for this new tool. It's just going to be some simple, lightweight development tool that does a few neat things to help with HTML5 development on mobile devices. It will also undoubtedly make it easy to stick a bunch of Google ads into your mobile apps. Some help doing responsive design, like integration with scripting libraries like bootstrap.js would be nice. Or even an ability to use HTML5 flexible boxes to do responsive design, with an ability to degrade gracefully to a more globally supported JavaScript technology if the need arises would be slick too. Maybe even package a WYSIWYG editor into the mix to simplify the whole thing? Yeah, that's probably asking for far too much from a free IDE.

The incremental approach to feature delivery

I think Bobby Kelly, a web-marketing strategist with WebMarketingPro.ca, has it right when he says "Don't expect too much from the early versions of Google Web Designer." Of course, Kelly suspects that Google Web Designer will grow into something much more impressive with time. I, on the other hand, think it will wither and die like the vast majority of other failed projects Google embarks upon. Given, sometimes they hit one out of the park, like with Android or GWT, but more often than not, Google projects just wither and die. 

For more on Bobby Kelly's take on Google Web Designer, take a look at his recently published article entitled: How Google Web Designer (GWD) plays a key role in Google's global marketing and advertising strategy.

Fixing the fragmentation fracas

What the industry really needs is a tool that gets people away from all of the various mobile device technologies, and gets the world's army of UI developers delivering content using standards based HTML5 and CSS3. This whole mess of having to develop different user interfaces for different handheld devices has gone on too long. Something needs to be done about it. Sadly, Google's focus will be more about pushing their AdClick revenue instead of doing something about Android fragmentation or the need for native application development. Still, a person can dream.

In one of my unusually optimistic moods, I put together a wish list of features that would make GWD a real leap forward in terms of HTML5 and CSS3 development. You get the full scoop in the following article entitled: Let's make the CSS3/HTML5 developers smile (The Google Web Designer GWD wish-list)

As I said before, the whole thing hasn't even been released yet, so at this point, everything is just speculation. Here's hoping that this IDE is a product that does more than just pad Google's bottom line, and is instead one that really makes a difference in terms of modern day, mobile and browser-based development.

Follow me on Twitter, won't you? Cameron McKenzie (@potemcam)

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