Tuesday, March 25, 2008

RIAs give new life to browsers

I was poking around the IE 8 beta site and had a thought. Given that the developer community seems to be looking outside the typical browser standards (HTML, CSS, Javascript) for ways to build richer applications, it might be easy to jump to the conclusion that the browser will be reduced to a simple delivery mechanism for Flash/Flex, Silverlight and JavaFX applications.

However, I think this trend is likely to release the browser of its responsibility of an application platform. Since it was never intended to be that platform, all the complexity that went along with it just detracts from its value as a platform for retrieving and displaying information. In the role of information delivery I think the browser is a wonderful thing. Features like the new WebSlices and Activities features of IE8 are information-centric features.

Just like any employee, if we let the browser do the job it was hired to do, it can really excel at it.

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