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HTML5 at xTuple

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We're happy to hear that NetSuite is finally thinking about rewriting their application in HTML5. In other words, they're working towards a mobile-ready design. This is a good step forward for them, and it's the same insight that we had three years ago when we started in on our web product.

The benefit of HTML5 is that it allows you to write a single application for the web, and have that same application run on a tablet or a phone without any additional code, by taking advantage of the web browser in the mobile device. Otherwise, you're stuck maintaining your traditional website, as well as a stand-alone Android and iOS app.

The front-end technology we settled on was Enyo, a purely JavaScript-based client-side framework that is optimized to work great out of the box on any form factor. We've gotten Enyo to play great with backbonejs, the workhorse framework that powers many of the most popular web applications out there.

We're anticipating that most of the day-to-day work in our web application will be done on a desktop or laptop. Still, we like to stretch the capabilities of our app when we use it to run our own company, and have started taking some of our meetings on the road, tablets in hand.

This same application works on phones, even with the screen-size constraints. I wouldn't want to spend all day entering sales orders into my smartphone, but you *could*. (You never know where and when your salespeople might close a deal!)

The more targeted use-cases we're cultivating for the smaller mobile devices are for use in the warehouse. HTML5 allows our app to work great on the Motorola TC55, a ruggedized Android device with a built-in barcode scanner. With these devices and the new "workflow" concept that we've built into the web application, customers can implement a paperless warehouse, using the barcode scanner to increase speed and reduce error.

And, unlike the strictly notional and optimistically-deadlined NetSuite announcement, our HTML5 web application is working in production today. You can take a test drive yourself using our Free Trial!

Steve Hackbarth

Software Development at xTuple, July 2012 – February 2015
Specialties: The Javascript Stack: Enyo, Backbone, REST, Socket.io, Node.js, Express, Mocha, Zombie, plv8, Postgres, Mongo, git, vim, Ubuntu; The Java Stack: Java, Google Web Toolkit (with MVP, Bootstrap, GXT, and RequestFactory), Spring, Struts, Hibernate, jUnit, J2EE (Servlets, JSP), Eclipse, Objectify, Groovy, Maven, Google App Engine, MySQL