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May 28 2009   3:53PM GMT

HTML 5 – The browser is a Web platform

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

HTML 5, whose most recent draft from the HTML Working Group was published in mid-April, is attractive to developers because it allows them to write for open browser standards instead of operating systems.

The ChannelWire, Google Says HTML 5 Tools Leave Microsoft In the Dust

There’s a lot of buzz this week about HTML 5.  It’s not radically different from HTML 4, but adoption does mean the end of codecs and plug-ins for rich media. In his keynote at the Google I/O developers conference, Gundotra talked about the importance of five main HTML 5 concepts: canvas tags, video tags, geolocation, application caching/database and Web Workers.

The <canvas> tag defines graphic, such as graphs or other images.

The <video> tag defines video, such as a movie clip or other video streams.

Geolocation is an API that provides scripted access to geographical location information associated with the hosting device.

Application caching/database – HTML 5 contains several features that address the challenge of building Web applications that work while offline. The HTML 5 specification provides two solutions to this: a SQL-based database API for storing data locally, and an offline application HTTP cache for ensuring applications are available even when the user is not connected to their network.

Web Workers is an API that allows Web application authors to spawn background workers running scripts in parallel to their main page. This allows for thread-like operation with message-passing as the coordination mechanism.

The whole idea of “the browser is the operating system” was buzzed about when Google released Chrome. It was a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around — but if I think of it as “browser as a Web platform” it makes more sense.

“The Web has won,” said Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra. “It has become the dominant programming model of our time.”

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