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What to Look For in an HTML5 Viewer (Part 3)

by | Feb 26, 2016

Snowbound is running a three-part blog series on the end of applets and what the future holds for web applications. Check back on and Friday for the final installment:

Part 1 (Monday): The Clock is Ticking to Replace Your Java Applet
Part 2 (Wednesday): Why Browser Plug-Ins are Being Phased Out
Part 3 (Friday): What to Look For in an HTML5 Viewer


Snowbound VirtualViewer HTML5 on iPad promo image

As we’ve concluded in the previous posts, it is becoming very evident that web applications that don’t require plug-ins are the future. The security concerns and support issues related to handling the various client environments present in both the business workplace and the home are becoming unacceptable. This means Flash, Silverlight, ActiveX, Java and other application solutions that interface with the web are rapidly going by the wayside. Only Microsoft supports ActiveX for the moment, Flash is marginally supported, and Java is also slowly disappearing from the browser landscape. As I mentioned on Monday, Oracle (who inherited the Java development mantle when they bought Sun) recently announced they will soon stop developing and offering Java plug-ins for browsers on Windows and other client operating systems.

Therefore, HTML5 based web applications are currently the best and greatest solution for web client applications, specifically document viewers. For those in need of solutions for viewing hundreds of different from any browser or device, HTML5 viewing is the answer.

Their benefits include:

  • Works on any system that offers a modern browser – whether desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone
  • Minimizes client support dramatically because there is no environmental requirement other than a browser
  • Product updates happen invisibly and automatically as soon as the user logs in
  • Security is improved because browser and OS security enhancements come out regularly and generally automatically
  • Removing browser plug-in applications like Flash, ActiveX and Java eliminates the most common security vulnerabilities
  • The HTML, Javascript and CSS ecosystem is dynamic and inventive with advances for additional capabilities coming out regularly

However, it is important to know that all HTML5 viewers are not all equal.

If in the market for a pure HTML5 viewer, here’s what should be on your check list:

  • Mobile capability
  • Powerful API for customizing the app
  • Server support is critical as all the heavy lifting happens there
  • Broad format support that requires sophisticated server functionality (TIFF or PDF ability is not enough)
  • Ability to integrate with other server applications through custom or industry-standard connectors
  • SVG capability that allows crisp rendition of all text-based and CAD documents at any zoom level
  • Special features such as annotations, thumbnails, document tabs, document/page manipulations, virtual documents, and redactions
  • Experience working with demanding large corporations that have their production processes dependent on the viewer
  • A vendor that can guarantee the regulatory compliance required by financial institutions and others for data security, employee background checks, disaster recovery protection, insurance coverage, IP indemnification, and more
  • In-house experts to advise and support customers with special requirements (very typical)
  • Java and .NET server platform support because not everyone runs the same way
  • Different partnerships with system integrators who are expert in your type of business, whether records management, content management, claims processing, loan processing or mortgage processing


For more information about pure HTML5 document viewers and why they are the perfect replacement to applets and applications dependent on plug-ins, visit our website.