IE9 Will Unleash HTML5
Roumen Stoyanov Associate Director, Application Development
April 29th | 2011 By
While users might be willing to install plug-ins, they definitely don’t want to download one for every application they run in the browser. This has led many developers to build AJAX applications that send lots of data over the wire so that the browser can respond appropriately to user actions and commands. HTML5 promises to change all that by specifying a range of capabilities that browsers must support so that applications can simply invoke them via commands instead of communicating with a server-side application. Some of the most important capabilities defined by the HTML5 draft include video, image rendering, text manipulation, and offline storage.
So what does IE9 have to do with HTML5? Well, because IE is one of the dominant web browsers in the market, its slow adoption of the latest standards has been a huge barrier to the advancement of standards such as HTML5, Cascading Style Sheets 3 (CSS3), and Scalar Vector Graphics (SVG) that are bound to shape the next generation of the Web. Microsoft has been reluctant for years to adopt open standards that are not in its control and this has always been a concern that could not be ignored. For instance, since SVG is partially based on Vector Markup Language (VML), a technology developed by Microsoft and other companies for MS Office Visio, Microsoft has been reluctant to embrace it as an open standard for the past 10 years or so. This has caused a long delay in the adoption of SVG as the standard 2-D graphics rendering technology on the Web. Similarly, the possibility that Microsoft might not embrace HTML5 with an official browser version has been a concern that could not be ignored. However, with the release of IE9 Microsoft has fully embraced SVG and HTML5 giving them a long needed shot in the arm.
So why the change of heart? While IE has been the dominating browser since it killed Netscape, its market share has been significantly eroded in recent years by Firefox and Google Chrome. Both browsers have been quicker to adopt new standards and technologies which has made them the choice of developers and users alike. If you can fight them, join them – this seems to apply even for Microsoft. Well, that’s one happy ending, isn’t it?