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Welcome to HTML5 apps!

Ubuntu now embraces HTML5 as a first-class app toolkit. It is still under development, and things are changing. But many of the core parts are in good working order! So HTML5 developers can start making true HTML5 apps (not web pages) that fit right into the dazzling Ubuntu experience.

What is an HTML5 app?

HTML5 is traditionally for web pages. CSS provides styling and animations, and JavaScript provides logic and control. But now, these “web” technologies can be used to write apps for Ubuntu.

What is an Ubuntu HTML5 app?

It is written in HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. It runs in a web container. It is an app, just like any other Ubuntu app, so it is integrated into Unity in all the usual ways. The web container provides access to a wide and growing set of JavaScript APIs the app can use. This includes Ubuntu platform APIs like Content Hub, Alarms, and Online accounts, and others, such as Cordova, which provides access to system and device level functionality like camera and accelerometer.

Looks and feels like an Ubuntu app

An HTML5 app GUI is created with Ubuntu HTML5 widgets, like Tabs, Pages, Dialogs, Buttons, and more. When you declare the widgets in your HTML5 code, they are automatically styled by Ubuntu CSS, so they fit right in visually. And, they are pulled into the Ubuntu HTML5 JavaScript runtime framework, which lets you control the widgets from JavaScript using a convenient API.

In addition to the Ubuntu-specific HTML declarations, the app can use normal HTML5 in the usual ways. The Ubuntu CSS provides styling for most cases, so even when using additional HTML5, the app still looks and feels like an Ubuntu app.

Ubuntu app design

Design rules. Ubuntu puts design first and considers toolkits (whether HTML5, or QML, or whatever) as an implementation detail. It is design that makes an Ubuntu app look and feel like an Ubuntu app.

So, a good step before getting started writing Ubuntu HTML5 apps is design.ubuntu.com. Here, you find tours of the Ubuntu GUI layouts and building blocks (from a toolkit agnostic viewpoint, of course).


There’s a lot to know, and fortunately the Ubuntu community is rich with sources of help and information. Here are a couple good places to visit:

Next steps


Be sure to check out our HTML5 guides and others, like those for the Ubuntu App Platform. These focused articles cover key topics of interest to app developers and are designed to give you the high level view of critical topics. After reading the guides, understanding APIs and systems features is much easier.


Definitely check out the HTML5 tutorials. These give you detailed steps, examples and explanations that let you leap into productivity with Ubuntu HTML5 apps.


And of course, developers need the API Reference docs for HTML5/JavaScript. These provide the implementation-level detail you need make your HTML5 apps use the full sweet of platform APIs .