HTML5 + Cloud = Incredible Web Apps

By Jean Ouellette | April 7, 2011

HTML 5 (the latest rev. of the language for presenting content on the Internet) is under development and I, for one, am excited about all the possibilities it brings. Combining the rich capabilities and broad device support of HTML 5 with the resource accessibility and scalability of the cloud sets the stage for incredible new web applications – ones that are more interactive, engaging, personal and immersive than client applications.

A lot of the information about HTML 5 is associated with native video support. In my view, this will not have much impact on desktop computers since most of them have plugins such as Flash; however, HTML 5 will significantly benefit mobile devices.

I’m a lot more interested in other enhancements to HTML 5, particularly in the following APIs:

  • Canvas – This API-enabled dynamic creation and manipulation of 2D shapes and bitmap images enables building things like graphs, animations and games. The following links provide examples of the Canvas capabilities. (You will need one of the latest browser versions to view these Canvas Demo 1 and Canvas Demo 2)
  • Geolocation – This API enables to get the device geographic latitude and longitude coordinates as well as altitude using technologies such as GPS, RFID, and GSM etc. Geolocation lets you build location-aware applications that can be layered on top of maps (such as helping you find the closest Chinese restaurant) and adventure games where the player’s position is incorporated
  • Web workers – This API enables Web application to spawn background workers running scripts in parallel to the main page. This feature enables a web application to perform complex tasks in parallel making it more responsive and leveraging multi-core CPUs in today’s computers. This is very important when creating complex and CPU intensive applications such as dynamic animations and games
  • Application cache – This API enables Web applications to work offline i.e. disconnected from the Internet. This capability is supported by other APIs such as the File, Indexed Database, Web Storage API as well as others. The ability for an application to support both online and offline to users since they only need to learn a single user interface and can be used at all time since the application synchronizes once it becomes online or connected.

The combination of some of the above APIs – with many additional HTML 5 capabilities such as drag and drop user interaction, spell checker and content editing – brings many new possibilities for web applications.

Unfortunately, we must be patient since the HTML 5 specifications have been in the works for many years, and there is still no confirmed release date. On a positive note, all major browsers vendors (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera) support many of the specifications as currently defined.

What do you think about HTML 5? Leave your comments here, including any links to other interesting HTML5 pages and applications.

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