Google Chrome Frame to the Rescue!

Bruce Eckel's prediction came true! Chrome is now an IE plugin! There's a lot of talk about it at the moment about security concerns and accessibility, but both of these discussions miss the point. The real story here, is what Google Chrome Frame means for developers. Web developers like me have longed for the following:

  • CSS 3 support
  • Canvas
  • SVG
  • Properties and other advanced features in Javascript
  • HTML 5
  • Not having to develop for a browser that sucks
Now, rather than resorting to campaigns like these, you can instead ask your users to install a plugin - much like with the Flash plugin - that will essentially run Chrome's engine inside IE 6, 7, or 8, and give you all of the benefits in the list above. The average end-user will hardly notice the difference because IE's interface will stay the same, the only things that are different are within the content pane of the browser. Given Flash's ubiquity with its browser plugin install model, it is certainly not unconceivable for Chrome Frame to become wide spread among IE users. Go back a few years: How did Flash gain this level of penetration in the first place? Answer: YouTube! Who owns YouTube now? Oops! Yes, Google could totally drop Flash from YouTube and go HTML 5 only. I doubt they would do that in reality, but that card is there for them, if they want to play it. The more probable Google strategy will be Wave, which, I gather from Google's positioning, will definitely not support IE natively. So, if Wave hits a home run and becomes the next big thing, Chrome Frame - and thus HTML 5 - will become a very viable RIA environment. Heck, some other company could very well come into the picture at this point and develop a killer app in HTML 5 that pushes it over the top also. When we get to that point - and here's me praying - it's bye bye to developing for the IE platform, forever!
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