I’m just back from San Francisco having attended a couple of events. The first was HTML5DevConf where it was great to see such an increased focus in realtime web technologies. So much so that there were rooms named Realtime 1 & Realtime 2.
I had the pleasure of being part of a WebSocket panel focusing on “WebSocket Applications and the Vision for the future” along with Ilya Grigorik from Google, Matt DeBergalis from Meteor and Peter Moskovits from Kaazing – the panel was chaired by Frank Greco, also of Kaazing. The great turnout for the panel clearly indicated that there’s real interest in how WebSocket technology is influencing how web applications are built, and the type of functionality that is now achievable.
Over the past two years we’ve seen a variety of use cases for WebSockets:
- Live Content: Simple, but amazingly valuable, live news broadcasting by large media networks
- Activity Streams: a perfect example is by our friends at GetGlue
- Realtime data-focused dashboards: Gaug.es and Scout
- Collaborative experiences: such as those delivered by MailChimp, CanvasDropr, Sprint.ly and Kanbanery
- Chat solutions: by far too many to mention
- 2nd Screen experiences: by the likes of OtherScreen
- The Internet of Realtime Things: WebSocket controlled Arduinos (using the Pusher Arduino library) proving that the Internet of Things is actually achievable
- and many, many more.
Arduinos are just one example of where WebSockets transcend web browsers as they become the technology for realtime communication on the Web. Our list of client libraries is a testament to that.
I’m convinced that we’ve only just scratched the surface of what is achievable with WebSockets and web technologies. Browsers and mobile are, of course, still a focal point and I’m particularly excited to see how other HTML5 technologies are used with WebSockets to deliver innovative interactive user experiences.
It’s worth mentioning that SPDY and HTTP 2.0 were discussed and it was clarified that, as well as potentially being the same thing (well, a starting point), they compliment and improve WebSockets by making it possible to multiplex WebSockets over a single connection.
The visibility on realtime web technologies at HTML5 Dev Conf, and the great attendee turnout for the WebSocket panel, is an exciting indicator of what is to come. The “Realtime Web” has previously been almost overused by marketeers, whilst those that were building and using the technology have been fighting to demonstrate the real technology and use cases. It now feels like the message is getting through; more developers than ever are aware of the technology, interested in it, looking to enhance existing applications or creating new innovative user experiences with it.
I’ve put my notes from the panel, in rough form, on my blog.