June 29, 2010

The Future of Web Browsers: Why You Should Be Excited Pt. 1

Believe it or not, web browsers have really not come all that far.

Yes, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome have upped the ante when it comes to speed, usability, and safety, but the basics behind how a web page is rendered is still the same as it was in 1997, when HTML 4.0 was introduced.

The good news is that, beginning with the introduction of HTML 5, web browsers are beginning to make some serious changes that will benefit all users in the future. Many browsers have added HTML 5 support already including Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome. Microsoft is planning HTML 5 support for Internet Explorer 9.

Let us look at why HTML 5 is going to help you:
  • Better looking webpages, that are faster and leaner
  • Advanced browser functionality such as "Drag and Drop" and embedded video that doesn't require a plugin, such as Flash.
  • Offline storage
You can see that some of these features are already in use on sites such as Gmail, which allows you to "drag and drop" images into your email. Youtube is also adopting HTML 5 and allows some videos to be viewed without the required Adobe Flash plugin. Instead, you are able to watch the video using the HTML 5 player.

If you are running an HTML 5 compatible browser, you can join the beta testing group here for the HTML 5 Youtube video viewer. You can then check out this video of the world celebrating Landon Donovan's game-winning goal.

HTML 5 is just the beginning of why you should be excited about the future of web browsers. Be sure to check out Part 2 next week when I talk about my favorite upcoming feature: Hardware Acceleration.

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