HTML5 – The Future of Web Development

HTML5 Badge
If you have done any web development in the last 10 years, you have undoubtedly seen the technology go through a myriad of changes. It started with simple, static HTML pages and has rapidly evolved to a list of technologies and languages almost too long to write. The culture of innovation has accounted for a Web that never seems to slow down or stop improving.

With each advancement, the goal seems to be the same. Developers want to create rich, universally accessible web applications The latter part — universally accessible — is becoming increasingly important and challenging for web developers as more users rely on their mobile devices to access web content. The broadened reach of the Web has opened exciting opportunities, but has also stretched the minds of developers to find ways to reach the largest audience without going crazy.

Take video playback as an example. There are many frameworks, formats and plugins to choose from (e.g. Flash and IIS Smooth Streaming), but each will eliminate one or more groups of mobile users from enjoying your site’s full experience. Of course, there is browser detection, conditional comments and the like, but those have always felt more like a band-aid rather than an actual solution.

This is where HTML5 comes in. It is the answer to many of the questions and problems web developers face today. When most people refer to HTML5, they are not only referring to the HTML5 specification itself, but all of the next generation technologies that come with it. For example: CSS3, Web Workers and Web Storage are all technologies often used in conjunction with HTML5, but are independent technologies with their own specifications.

Let’s start by talking about some of the major advancements in web development. There are plenty to talk about, but here are the ones I find most important.

Native audio/video support – HTML5 supports audio and video tags right in your HTML. You no longer need to install separate plugins or ActiveX controls to render media content on your page.
Canvas – The canvas provides you with a 2D drawing surface that allows you to create rich, hardware accelerated graphics on the fly.
CSS3 – CSS3 provides several new ways to style your web content including rounded corners, web fonts, the ability to style per client device, transitions, animations and much more.
Web Workers – “Web worker” is just a fancy word for a background thread. They allow us to push long-running operations into the background so that user interaction with the application is unaffected.
Storage – Web storage is similar to cookies, but with a few advantages. Web storage provides much more space than cookies, it is maintained on the client (it’s not sent in every web request), and it offers both a persistent and a “per session” storage mechanism.
Geolocation – The Geolocation API allows developers to obtain the location of the client. Location services are especially popular for mobile devices and social media applications.
Drag and Drop – A complete event based framework for implementing drag and drop in HTML5 applications.

As you can see, there are many new and exciting features in HTML5 that bridge the gap between current web technologies and the rich, cross platform applications programmers want to create.

Where does LEADTOOLS fit into HTML5?

Several new features of HTML5 have opened the door to make our 20 years worth of imaging experience freshly available to web developers. LEADTOOLS has created viewer controls that provide essential imaging functionality to web developers including panning, zooming, multi-touch, magnify glass, rotate, and many others. The LEADTOOLS team is planning to include annotations and mark-up, multi-frame image stacking, window-leveling, JSON web services to our document cleanup, OCR & barcode engines, and much more.

Check out our zero footprint HTML5 viewer preview and stay posted as this is just the beginning for LEADTOOLS and HTML5.

Otis Goodwin
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