Browser Possession Part III

By | October 15, 2009

2 years ago, there was this great moment at Ajaxian.  The idea was something I called Browser Possession.  Here is the business case:

  1. HTML and CSS are easy enough for non-engineers to create.  However, they aren’t powerful enough.  We want rounded corners, shadows and gradients using CSS and simple markup.  We want simple interactivity like you can get with jQuery.
  2. Web development often follows the lowest common denominator, which is usually Internet Explorer.  This means you can’t use any of the newer browser technologies until the crappiest browser dies a slow death.  Crappy, but popular browsers stagnate innovation.  It makes innovation only available to engineers who can get over the technology learning curve for advanced flash or JavaScript.  Millions of non-engineers are left in the dust.
  3. Testing across multiple browsers is a huge pain in the ass.  If you have to spend that much time testing, then you are spending less time developing features or other innovations.  We need consistency across platforms.
  4. We can not institute a system that will break in the future. Browsers get updated, as do computers and bandwidth.  Websites and applications need to last much longer than the browser life-cycle.  The technology we use today needs to run, maintenance free for a decade or longer.

The answer, in my opinion, is to let the producer of content declare the kind of rendering environment to use.  Don’t let some stupid user who doesn’t know any better mess you up.  Since that day, I heard some rumblings that it might happen.

Recently, two nice pieces of news on the subject came up.

The first is Google Chrome frame (reported here on Ajaxian).  The goal of this project was to create an activeX control that would replace the rendering agent in IE6 to Chrome.  Looks promising.

The second is a project called Wrapper.  It takes regular HTML and enhanced CSS and produces the page using Flash.  Look at this CSS file.  Notice the FILL, JSON, and SHAPE declarations.  That looks fantastic.  I assume only Flash knows what to do with that.

I am so thrilled that brilliant engineers are working on this problem.  Wrapper looks really close.  The thing it is missing is interactivity.  My hope is that there could be a port of jQuery to use in this context.  Maybe it would need to be written in ActionScript or something.  However, the benefits would be enormous.

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