15. January 2011 21:11
This is going to be a bit more of a techie post than usual, so tune out if that isn’t interesting to you. If you like technical discussion, I've also put this post on my work blog and there is a lot of other good information over there from my colleagues on Microsoft development, including Silverlight, Windows Phone 7 and other newer technologies.
One of the consequences of being on a project for a few years is that you tend to get really good at the specific technologies needed to write the best applications for that project. And you tend to miss out on some other stuff, unless you want to spend all your weekends keeping up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I find that hard to do consistently. So I wanted to check out some of the new web development technologies coming down the pike and I thought I’d start with Html 5. Html 5 often seems to be poorly defined or mean different things to different people. The spec is kind of like that. It builds on everything that has come before, adds or standardizes some stuff that at least one browser was already doing and in general tries to make certain things about developing modern web applications easier. I’m not going to go into the standards history here as it’s pretty easy to find that to read about, but I would encourage you to read up on it as it is a rather interesting story.
I grabbed 2 fairly short Html 5 books to read through. There is also plenty of information online, but sometimes I just want to read through a book on my commutes to and from work. It allows me to focus in and really get a sense of the whole picture. So I’ve read through Introducing HTML5 (Voices That Matter) by Bruce Lawson and Remy Sharp and I'm currently reading through HTML5: Up and Running by Mark Pilgrim. Both books cover much the same territory and give you just enough information to get a sense of the new technologies. Neither takes long to read. The nice thing that both books try to do is give you ways to start using these technologies now.
Now my friends on the design team at Clarity are most interested in stuff like the Canvas and some of the SVG graphics support. I think that stuff is cool, but I’m a web applications developer, not a designer. So I’m really more interested in what is going to help me write applications that work better for the user, are easier to maintain and most importantly, make my job easier. Given those parameters, here are some quick hit features and tips that I’m most interested in:
The main takeaway I got from these books is that I can start migrating some of the new features into my web applications now. No need to wait on a lot of this stuff. And there are some pretty compelling reasons to move ahead for some of these features, particularly in scenarios where you can lock in a particular browser (such as internal or intranet applications).