Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HTML5 Talk at FIS in Malvern

I attended the inaugural meeting of the Philadelphia Google Technology User's Group (PGTUG) last night. The content of the meeting was a talk given by @kurrik, a Google Programs Engineer, on new HTML5 features. I was the only attendee brave (or uncool) enough to sit in the front row.

While I am an admin by definition, I am a coder at heart. For evidence,  I can submit thousands of Transactions-SQL and Powershell scripts. Even so, web development isn't my 'thing'. It was interesting to see what the development community is up to. This was particularly true since the talk was Chrome centric. I drink plenty of Microsoft Kool-Aid as it is.

The talk was fast-paced, with 68 slides in less than 90 minutes, including demos. The talk was nominally about items in the HTML5 specification. While competing products were mentioned, it might be more accurate to say that the talk was on Chrome's implementation of certain HTML5 features.

The talk did not get bogged down in detailed specifics. It was aimed at developers and assumed a basic understanding of web coding in javascript and CSS. I could not have written from scratch any of the code that was presented, but I do have enough coding experience to comfortably follow along. It seems that I am qualified to be the world's oldest junior web programmer.

The talk covered three general areas: file, graphics and audio. The items that I found the most interesting were:

The ease of loading files that could then be manipulated with javascript, support for drag and drop file operations and local file systems. There was a brief mention of planned support for file system quotas.

Demos covered image transformations, 3D modeling and the ability to upload code and data to the GPU. GPU access like a  powerful tactic that could be exploited for computation and not just eye candy.

Demos covered playing audio files, waveform generation and audio processing (such as beat detection). Basically, you could write your own music visualizations with straight browser code. 

My overall take-away was that there is more and more of an operating system built into modern browsers.

Many, if not all, of the demonstrations can be found here and @kurrik encourages you to follow him on Twitter.