Recently, Microsoft (News - Alert) announced a big new lineup of features set to arrive on SkyDrive.com, which should be available very soon if they aren't already. The new features in question offer up a lot more functionality, and provide quite a bit of extra power in connection with the growing HTML5 language.
Microsoft had several significant new offerings as part of its lineup of improvements for SkyDrive, including a new unified view specifically designed to show how permissions are shared across files. This development came around after Microsoft started noticing that, since SkyDrive had a lot of different methods of sharing files available to it, people were using more than one of them at once. So Microsoft simplified the view, making it easier to work with and use multiple sharing methods. Additionally, Microsoft also improved the drag-and-drop capabilities for managing files, making it easier to move them around the interface.
But perhaps the biggest news featured Microsoft stepping up its HTML5 gesture system, allowing users to select one item or multiple items via touch gesture, and repeating the gesture will cancel it. This goes along with the improved drag-and-drop on a certain level, but it also mirrors how Windows 8 works with touchscreen systems. It's not a particularly easy task, as touch gestures can be used for several different functions like zooming into items, scrolling a screen, and the like, so provisions have to be made to keep the gestures from being misinterpreted at the programming level.
Microsoft's regular improvements to SkyDrive are great for SkyDrive's users, of course, but they're also downright necessary for Microsoft itself. There are several competitors in the market space—Dropbox and Google (News - Alert) Drive are tops on the list—so the more advantages Microsoft can roll out, the better chance it has of keeping itself in the running and with a better chance at the top. In a very competitive market, each product has to differentiate itself to not only draw in new customers, but also keep the old ones from jumping ship for new product.
This is likely only the beginning for Microsoft's advances; with the W3C (News - Alert) finally offering locked-down specs on HTML5 and HTML5.1 in progress, the fullest advantages of the language can come into being, and Microsoft can fully incorporate the language into its own offerings. Other firms will likely be looking to take similar steps, though, and this in turn will likely spur on continuing advancement, advancement that will bear close consideration in the months ahead.
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