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Evaluation of the Applicability of HTML5 for Mobile Applications in Resource-Constrained Edge Environments

July 2014 Technical Note
Bryan Yan (Carnegie Mellon University – Institute for Software Research), Grace Lewis

This technical note presents an analysis of the feasibility of using HTML5 for developing mobile applications, for "edge" environments where resources and connectivity are uncertain, such as in battlefield or natural disaster situations.


Software Engineering Institute

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 Mobile applications increasingly are being used by first responders and soldiers to support their missions. These users operate in resource-constrained, edge environments characterized by dynamic context, limited computing resources, intermittent network connectivity, and high levels of stress. In addition to efficient battery management, mobile applications operating in edge environments require efficient resource usage of onboard sensors to capture, store, and send data across networks that may be intermittent. The traditional method for building mobile applications is to use native software development kits (SDKs) on a particular mobile platform, such as Android or iOS. However, HTML5 has recently evolved to a stage where it supports many of the development features that native SDKs support. The advantages of using HTML5 not only include cross-platform development and deployment, but also that mobile edge applications would not have to be deployed on mobile devices, potentially leading to an easier distribution and testing process because they simply run inside the web browser that already exists on the device. This technical note presents an analysis of the feasibility of using HTML5 for developing mobile edge applications, as well as the use of bridging frameworks for filling in gaps in HTML5 development features. This note also provides a discussion of the software architecture implications of HTML5 mobile application development. The work presented in this note is the result of an independent study in Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Information Technology - Embedded Software Engineering (MSIT-ESE) program.