Thursday, July 28, 2005

Take browsers to the limit: Google

Take browsers to the limit: Google
By Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia
28 July 2005

From the folllowing article:

The only way to transform the Web into the desktop platform of the future is to fully embrace bleeding edge features in browser software.

This advice came from the lead engineer of the Google Maps project, Lars Rasmussen.

Speaking at a conference on Web engineering in Sydney, Rasmussen said Maps' use of the XSL+ (Extensible Stylesheet Language) standard and Microsoft's Vector Markup Language as examples of useful technologies seldom used by Web developers. Both are only supported by certain browsers.

If a Web application takes advantage of the best technologies a user's browser can offer, then "each individual gets the 'sexiest' experience in their browser", he said.

"Go beyond browsers' lowest common denominator," he advised developers.

For example, Maps can command Internet Explorer to use VML to display a blue line between geographical points, but use a PNG graphic format and a linear description for the Firefox browser.

The Sydney-based developer revealed the release of Maps created a critical mass of interest from the programming community in the development of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications, or Web applications with sophisticated graphics.

"Google Maps was originally a C++ app intended to be downloaded separately," he recalled, going back to the days before his startup company, Where 2 Technologies, was acquired by Google last October.

However, that changed when Rasmussen and his colleagues -- looking for some venture capital -- pitched their mapping expertise to Google.

(Read the rest of the article here...)
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