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Chrome is Paving the Way for HTML5 Viewing

by | Sep 28, 2015

As of September 2015, most people are not able to run Java client software (including applets) in the most popular browser in the USA today. If you’re not up to date on browser popularity, I’m talking about Chrome, which has achieved a market share of 40%-60%, depending on the source. The mobile scene is even more Chrome-heavy at 70% because of the high majority of Android phones and tablets running Chrome.

Yes, Java is still a very good solution for the server side of web-based or web-associated workflow systems. Applications run across all Java enabled platforms, but it is no longer the solution of choice for the web-based client. Though Firefox, Safari, and some versions of Internet Explorer (as well as some lesser-used browsers) continue to support plug-ins and Java in the client, none of them are as popular as Chrome is today (and is likely to be in the future).

HTML5 technology for browsers has been in development for more than five years. Browsers have been adding capability to support it for almost as long. Most modern browsers, though not equally, support all the major aspects of the spec. Developers have managed to create a variety of applications, including viewers for documents and videos, with advanced manipulation capabilities using HTML5, Javascript, and other technologies. There is little reason to hold back on the move, particularly when a delay could hurt your business.

Pros to HTML5 Adoption
– All modern browsers support this technology
– No special requirements (other than having a browse), meaning far less client support
– Invisible updates to the client since they download automatically at log-in
– There are far less security concerns compared to plug-in technology
– Mobile access is greatly improved and more widely supported (phones, tablets and non Java-enabled computers)
– Most processing is performed on the server permitting less powerful devices to perform document review tasks formerly only possible on a desktop or laptop

Cons to Moving to HTML5
– It’s harder to access the local hardware using HTML5 (but that’s also one of the security benefits)
– Not all Java applet capabilities have been migrated to the HTML5 versions (depends on the developer)
– Most processing for HTML5 is done on the server, which taxes the back-end more than plug-in technology (but there are techniques to reduce the burden)
– HTML5 developers are hard to find

It is clear to me that many of our customers are already making the move. Most of our new demand is for viewers offering HTML5 technology. There are too many benefits and very few negatives to not make the move now. See this link for more information.