by Joseph T. Sinclair
HTML 5 is the new language of app makers, particularly book app makers. Why? That’s a story that starts with HTML.
HTML is not a programming language. It’s a mark-up language. As such, you don’t have to be a programmer to use it. Anyone can use it, although over 20 years it has gotten more and more capable; and it is more difficult to take advantage of all the additional capability. In other words, it’s more complex today. Advanced HTML authoring programs such as Adobe’s Dreamweaver, however, make it easy to use, even in its nouveau complexity.
HTML 5 incorporates much of the capability that the new languages brought to webpage development. The programming necessary for certain functions, such as video, is now built into HTML 5, thus enabling you do make a webpage do almost anything you want it to do just using simple markups. It has made using programming languages for extended webpage functionality less necessary.
Important for Book Apps
Why is this important for book apps? Because much of the app authoring software uses HTML 5 as its basic foundation. For instance, Adobe’s InDesign/Digital Publishing Suite will incorporate an HTML page into a book and render the book into an app to be sold on iTunes. Consequently, you can put a very small webpage into a larger InDesign book page to provide a certain functionality. Or you can make an entire Web book and incorporate it into the InDesign book. In such a case, the InDesign book becomes just a wrapper to turn the Web book into an app.
Where is this story going? Well, it just may be that authors/publishers never need to learn anything except HTML 5. App authoring software may be relegated to simply programs that wrap a Web book into a book app—the last step in the book app making process.
The primary message here is that book app making has now passed from programmers into the hands of author/publishers who take the initiative to learn HTML 5 and app authoring software. As a result, book app making has gone from being very expensive to something anyone can do with a minimal software investment.
As we are in the early stages of the history of app authoring software, it is not so clear where it might go from here. But one thing is certain. It will get easier and less expensive. And HTML 5 appears destine to play a principal role in bringing book app making into the hands of non-programmers.
The author of this article, Joseph T. Sinclair, is the author of twenty How To books published by national publishers.
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©2014 Joseph T. Sinclair. All rights reserved.