April 15, 2011

Microsoft Decides to Support HTML 5; Let the Games Begin

Get past the initially annoying graphic of the good doctor himself, giving you the same expression your family doctor did when he said he couldn’t believe any six-year old could actually break their arm for the third time, and Dr. Dobb’s World of Software Development has a lot of good stuff.

The Doc offers his thoughts on how “a whole new Web is coming your way” with Microsoft’s (News Alert) latest Internet Explorer, version 9, being able to handle HTML 5.

And Microsoft’s all in: IE10 “will build on Microsoft’s IE9 strategy of delivering deep native HTML5 support while using Windows Vista and Windows 7 with hardware acceleration and 64-bit support, noted Microsoft Vice President Dean Hachamovitch,” according to industry observer Charles Winget.

Microsoft had dragged its feet on HTML 5, refusing to let IE fully support it, but as Dobbs explains, techies and geeks are all in a lather now because not only can IE – and its rendering engine, Trident – now play nicely with HTML5, as well as Cascading Stylesheets (CSS (NewsAlert)) 3.0, and Scalar Vector Graphics (SVG), which the rest of the civilized world has been waiting for them to do for a long time now. Going ahead with the technologies if Microsoft wasn’t on board would have made as much sense as planning a wedding without a bride.

Indeed, exasperation showed as Computerworld reported, “Mozilla (NewsAlert) and Opera have mocked rival Microsoft’s use of the term ‘native HTML5’ to describe Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and the in-development IE10 as an oxymoron, an attempt to hijack an open standard and a marketing ploy.”

“Definite programmer implications,” Dobbs says, explaining for those who can’t understand what all the hoopla’s about that HTML5 “is widely viewed as a watershed technology,” as it makes multimedia and the construction of applications that run in the browser much easier.

People think that HTML 5 means “complex applications will increasingly be run inside the browser,” as with Google (News Alert) Docs or Zoho.  Basically browsers are limited in what they can do with Java, so to execute complex script without bogging down you need plugins, such as the Adobe Flash plugin.

But with HTML5 – we’ll try to keep this as non-geeked as we can – the browser gets the ability to do “video, drawing, text manipulation, as well as offline storage,” Dobbs says, putting his finger on the crux of the matter: “Once browsers support these aspects, the applications can simply invoke them via commands, rather than sending bits of the implementation over the network to run on the client or relying on plugins.”

Evidently Microsoft is still interested in competing on tech prowess alone. Good news. Let the games start.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin


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