The web evolves quickly; not so long ago AJAX was the hot new thing and now it is increasingly main-stream. Predicting the next big thing is very hard but I think one new development in particular is not on people’s radar in the way that I would expect. The WHAT-WG (Web HyperText Application Technology Working Group) is coming up with a set of specifications that should allow Web Apps to be richer and faster to write. Importantly they are ensuring that new features degrade gracefully in older browsers (primarily IE6) so authors don’t have to wait until the internet population as a whole have upgraded from legacy browsers before using cool new technologies.
The group is backed by Mozilla and Opera so we shouldn’t have to wait too long for browsers that take advantage of these new features (Ian Hickson, the spokesperson for the group, has worked on Mozilla/Firefox and Opera and has just been hired by Google). These new specs – if done right – will make all our lives easier so I encourage any reader who is experienced in writing web applications to check out the draft specifications and to suggest any good ideas that might spring to mind. This working group may define the web of tomorrow – the more useful input that it gets today, the better!