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4 Oct

Next Level of Game-Changing Innovation for SevOne for HTML5

A Doodle of HTML

Discussing a particular web technology may seem like a far-off topic from network performance management. However, to ensure that a team is capable of constructing anything, from a football stadium to a rocket ship, you must have the right tools. Choosing the wrong tools leaves you with limited functionality, sluggish performance, and no hope for scalability. The right tools for the job are the ones that you shouldn't have to think about. These are the tools that let you focus on innovating and creating, rather than working within a set of boundaries. Finding and adopting these tools is part of my job, and it makes me smile when I say that.

“The future is coming! HTML5 is going to change the web!” I have been hearing this statement or something similar for several years now from web developer friends or folks in the community at large. We have all seen the fancy websites showcasing interactive content or SVG-based games utilizing the new canvas, video, and audio tags. Though the technological achievements are lost on some, there are still many who immediately right-clicked, had their pupils dilate, and their jaws drop. "This isn't Flash?!”

The astonishment at the powers of HTML5 continues today, but the newness has faded. Google puts forth the greatest effort in bringing the latest features and functionality to its user base and the best example is through their Apps suite. However, Google's users have far less restriction governing their experience in comparison to users in the enterprise space. These web-based applications are rarely constructed of the same mold. Your typical enterprise loves the accessibility of web-based applications, but instead of utilizing JavaScript and the advanced features of HTML5, development shops often favor Flash or flex-based solutions which require plug-ins and lack support for some platforms, such as the iPhone.

The following are several statements about web-based applications with which you may be familiar. As part of a team and an organization that champions innovation, I would like to drop in my "two cents." Some of these statements may be the reason your enterprise or development shop all-too-quickly chose to abandon HTML and JavaScript as their platform.

“[My enterprise] generates far more data than an HTML/JavaScript-based solution can handle.” Scalability has always been a mantra of both SevOne and my own personal projects. We have done some amazing things with the same HTML and JavaScript that has existed since the 90s. With proper dynamic "chunking” or classic pagination of data, we have seen our web-based application scale wonderfully from a customer with under 100 users to a Fortune 100 customer with innumerable users. Many of the solutions I have seen based on legacy platforms could never dream of supporting that user-base and the data they create.

"The legacy systems at [my enterprise] cannot handle or support HTML5.” Thhed up to the counter, bought my first cup of coffee, and sat down with Vess to begin my career here at SevOne. And for the record, I haven't stopped drinking coffee, or taking direction from Vess since that day in Dunkin Donuts over 6 years ago. Both have made pretty positive impacts on my life, but one could argue about my blood pressure.

is is the greatest challenge for a web-based application. Any seasoned veteran of web development will tell you, however, that "feature detection" is your friend. It is your friend and, the key to backward and forward compatibility. Web standards are built as individual components and it is rare that your application will utilize every new feature developed. Scripting languages like JavaScript allow web-applications to choose features that fit the environment. This makes it possible to easily provide rich experiences for both terminal clients, sharing barely a gigabyte of RAM, and the modern desktop. "[My development shop] would have to re-write far too much code to adopt HTML5." HTML has evolved greatly since the 90s. A lot of the code we use today stemmed from the same set of features originally defined by Tim Berners-Lee so many years ago. Each iteration of the HTML specification builds upon the previous one. When new components are designed, the older components rarely go out of existence. Because of this, a web development shop would need to put forth minimal effort to take advantage of the new features offered by HTML5. If anything, most of the code in place would remain. New code added would enhance the user experience, keeping current customers happy and attracting new ones. Sounds like a win-win to me!

"HTML5 is not ready. [My development shop] will adopt when it's finished.” We have seen the effects of a stagnant enterprise application on customer satisfaction. Before customers see our product in action, they are often in staunch disbelief that our claims of speed and scalability are a reality. Taking advantage of new technologies not only provides competitive advantage, but it opens doors to creativity and innovation. This also has the added effect of customer confidence that the investment they made in your solution will grow and provide them with the tools they need to do their job and do it well.

The original version 5 of the HTML standard was appropriately called "Web Applications 1.0." The goal is to give developers the power to build rich, flexible, scalable applications accessible to anyone with a browser. As a seeker of the best tools to enable my team, it seems only fitting to match the best and brightest with a technology of the same vein.

My name is Steve Mahoney and I am a software architect for SevOne. I am one of the originals, and by that I mean we occasionally argue as to whether I am employee number 3 or 4. I met Vess Bakalov, SevOne's founder and CTO, for an interview at a Dunkin Donuts on campus at the University of Delaware. At the time I was a Computer Science major eager to escape the woes of the big corporate job experiences I held before. Upon arrival, Vess suggested I grab a cup of coffee; to which I responded “I don't drink coffee.” Vess' suggestion then turned into a command: “Get a cup of coffee.” With his thick Bulgarian accent, I was admittedly intimidated.

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