Web Apps.

And so today we have exciting guys from Microsoft who brought us an introduction to HTML5 and the Windows Phone 7 platform. The first thing I immediately noticed when the HTML5 guy fired up his presentation, is that it is made entirely from HTML5 (the URL goes …page#1, page#2 or something like that), which he pointed out at the end. Kakaka 😀

The HTML5 logo. Looks pretty funny, if you ask me. A shield!!!

Now I must say I don’t know much about HTML5, my general impression was that it is very powerful, and it can do <video> tags, which is cool. But I learnt so many different things about HTML5 in the presentation.

Of course, there’s the standard enhanced features, like form validation, support for popular audio/video formats (through the respective <audio> and <video> tags), and CSS animations/image manipulation. These all allow a ‘plugin-less’ page, which is actually rather powerful, as it allows cross-platform and cross-browser (not at this time, though) compatibility in displaying web pages.

One major feature that struck me was the <canvas> tag, which allows graphics programmers to actually draw stuff inside the defined area. This reminds me of last semester where I followed a sample code to actually override the Quartz 2D drawing function for fonts in iOS to allow shadowed fonts. And the sample web app he showed was truly amazing (the cartoon animation)!

These things actually sparked my thought on one issue I blogged about earlier this year; how heavy are the hardware requirements? It’s not even about the browsers and which one is faster, it’s about how the current hardware in the world can handle these things. I once blogged about how netbooks are dying due to the rise of web apps, which demand heavier hardware requirements – the Intel Atom processor can’t handle even things like Facebook, or some more demanding web apps. I can’t imagine how the cartoon animation rendered in HTML5 would run on a netbook, even Cedar Trail – Intel’s next generation netbook platform, when the presenter’s computer (presumably with a last-gen still powerful dual-core processor) couldn’t run it nicely too. (Of course, might be the browser problem too. Hmm.)

Another thing I found was that HTML used to be kinda like a combination of the current HTML and CSS – one file contained the styling and the markup all together. And now, with all the new elements that HTML5 offers (<article>, <header>, <summary>, <hgroup>…), HTML is transforming into a more systematic and clean way of marking up web pages. For example, this code (in my opinion) is cleaner and comment-free than the one on the right:

<h1>Title goes here</h1>
<h2>Subtitle of article</h2>
<p>Lorem Ipsum dolor set amet</p>
<!– Title here –>
<h1>Title goes here</h1>
<h2>Subtitle of article</h2>
<!– Body –>
<p>Lorem Ipsum dolor set amet</p>

This is definitely a good change – the separation of the document markup with the styling is a lot neater in terms of organization.

And then we had the Windows Phone 7 talk.

So much nicer in my opinion XD

I have to say, I am one BIG FAN of the Metro UI. It’s clean, simple, elegant. And I actually like how Microsoft force most apps to style in the Metro UI – it makes all the applications look like its part of the package, as if those apps (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) are part of the Windows Phone system. And it doesn’t suck because Metro UI is beautiful. This standardization will definitely be welcomed. Some argued that there’s too much fancy animation, but hey, whatever works right? I’m pretty sure the animation covers up for the loading times, and that’s probably Microsoft’s smart move here.

That being said, developing on Windows Phone is another story; while the Windows Phone platform has had a rather promising but slow start, it’s still not nearly enough to attract me to develop for that platform, mainly because of the lack of users and the smaller community (as compared to Android or iOS). Plus, I vaguely remember reading an article on Engadget that describes developers having low quality support for the platform while developing apps. I had almost wanted to jump ship to Windows Phone at the start of this year just because of the Metro UI (I told you, I love it!), but the larger Android market brought me over (I now own a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play).

Another thing is, with webOS recently getting axed by HP, it certainly leaves many people wondering whether Windows Phone 7 will suffer the same fate. Well I suppose not so much as the big M$ has got the market power, and with Nokia as their top supporting partner I’m really looking forward to their devices. But again, it depends on how the market looks at it and whether people will transition. (To date, I’ve only seen one friend excluding the CS3216 peeps using WP7.)

In other news, the HP Touchpad now retailing at USD99 is already sold out and I couldn’t get my hands on one :/

———– Non-CS3216 related ———–

Eusoff Dance Open Class was quite awesome today, it’s heartwarming to see so many people turning up, even those who didn’t register but still want a place. I really hope they will come for the auditions and join Eusoff Dance, and I hope me and Yanxin’s plans for Eusoff Dance can take off nicely.

A lot of shit has been happening though – the new points system, Chingay meetings coming up. I just hope I can survive this.


One thought on “Web Apps.

  1. Metro UI is nice right? Hohoho.. A bit more elegant than the widget style we have on Android now. But then, there’s already Metro UI Android app out there. (Maybe I should try it out).

    I heard people are happy with the Dance Open Class. I think you have a pretty good start there! Eusoff Hall used to be the Dance Powerhouse – the real kind like we win Funkamania for a few years in the row. ^^

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