HTML5 Is Bigger Than You Think

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If you've been following the cloud computing movement, you know about HTML5. Facebook is using it. So are Apple, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , and Microsoft. Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE  ) recently stopped developing Flash for mobile devices because of the popularity of HTML5. Coders are using it more and more, and with impressive results.

For those who don't know, HTML5 makes Web applications behave a lot like native software you install and update. The difference? Instead of issuing command instructions to an operating system, the underlying syntax specifies how and where code should run -- on both Web pages and distant servers.

Web applications have long been known for their drawbacks. They're typically slower than native apps because they don't execute locally to a chip. Instead, they execute over the Web with all its buffering and bottlenecks.

I'm nevertheless seeing improvements. Google has introduced offline editions of Gmail, Calendar, and Docs based on HTML5 while Zynga is using the language to develop some of its games. But of them all, Toggl might be the best HTML5 app I've seen.

Toggl, put simply, is a task timer. Identify what you're working on and start the clock. Sound pedestrian? Maybe, but the app's pervasiveness and synchronicity are what show off HTML5 so well. I can start the clock while at my Mac, stop it from my iPhone, start a new task on my Android tab and start the clock again, all the while knowing the records will be perfectly synced when I'm back at the Mac. The server takes care of everything. And like the Google apps, Toggl is available offline. New records are synced back when Internet service is restored.

Skeptics will rightly point out that Toggl is a simple app. Google's apps aren't much more complex. But is that really a fair criticism? Microsoft Word isn't so complex either. What makes Docs a nice alternative is that it's available across all my devices and offline. Call it disruptive convenience, and it's getting more important in a frenetic world where teams are dispersed across continents.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Adobe Systems, Microsoft, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Adobe Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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