Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Browser Wars - Under a New Set of Rules

It's not a secret to know that there are hundreds of browsers. The cold war between the main players is no lesser secret.

With the industry joining the HTML 5 bandwagon the browser war has entered a new dimension. HTML 5 is the next generation HTML standard which is 'work in progress' by the way. As in the past the software developers have overtaken the standards bodies and started implementing this and some have even done beta releases. Google has also announced their willingness to fully join the club with Chrome at recently concluded Google I/O.

Some cool features of HTML 5 which caught my attention was,
1. The new video and audio tags
This enable application authors to create their own interface for video/audio players. This means that the browsers can also provide their own players. There is still conflicts as to which encoding/decoding mechanism to use as the standard.
2. More support for offline web applications
3. API exposing the browser history
This will be very welcomed by all the developers who had 'Back Button' problems
4. API for Background worker threads
This is a method to perform highly expensive computational tasks without interrupting the user interface.

Two main objectives of the HTML 5 standard are,
1. To foster interoperability of browsers
2. Introducing new APIs and Markup for emerging web usage patterns while being backward compatible with already deployed content

It is really fascinating to see that the user experience on top of the browsers is reaching a level very close to the desktop experience. With new communication platforms like 'Google Wave' we will be taken in to a whole new range of web applications. Below chart from O'Reily shows how the native client and web user experience is merging in the future. (Is Chrome in front of Firefox...duh..may be in terms of release date only)

What I would be interested in next few months is how Google Chrome would fair up with Firefox. Chrome did not came out well in it's first version. But I just feel that they will come with a bang next time around although the current news is not encouraging for Chrome.
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