Setup your tents, it's time to do some reality checks and look around. First off we see the decline of Flash, Silverlight, and Custom plugins for rendering, and we see the great rise of HTML5. HTML5 is defining in big ways what the race of desktop to web apps will transform how we look at what is possible in the browser. The browser wars are heating up like crazy around something as simple as good cross browser UI. Can you make videos look without needing special codex's, and how good you can make apps work in the browser? Check out html5test.com for details on scoring on browsers. It's pretty amazing. I do look forward to IE 10 and Windows 8, but there's still a lot of catch up. Don't get me wrong I am excited about the broader direction of where these technologies converge, and I'm excited MS is taking serious bets on HTML5. Well done…
SharePoint must make changes and adjustments as well in facing reality. While we anticipate great things in the next generation, I want to make sure it's loud and clear from where I sit and the other customers that I relate with every day… We are so done with ActiveX. Please, Please. Let's do away with ActiveX. It does not port. What do we do about Datasheet, presence, explorer view, multi file upload, and all that Jazz? See my last post SharePoint 2010 Browser Matrix and supportability for the complexity of the ActiveX situation. There is simply confusion and considerations of what the black eyes look like as we say there are multiple top tier browsers. Well, please investigate it, hard! Put some smart people on it. We want to see ActiveX disappear. We are looking for browser parity. It isn't about keeping IE alive, it has a legacy already. It's about facing reality. I personally have been using IE 9 with compatibility mode, and enjoying life in my little world. Then I use Chrome and Firefox to validate what my friends tell me. Then I start using Chrome too much and it becomes default, and IE becomes the solution to backward compatibility. First thing I downloaded on my Windows 8 box… sadly enough. Firefox and Chrome. We need alternatives. IE 10 has promise, but not soon enough… as you'll see below.
While the title may sound a little silly, there's a point to be made. Thanks Randy for helping me with the title to this blog post. There's a rallying cry out there to make the big 3 browsers equal citizens. I'm referring to IE, Chrome and Firefox. Recent news puts Chrome ahead of firefox according to statcounter stats at statcounter.com. There's a bigger trend as well. IE has been losing share, not surprising, but surprisingly Firefox is as well! Safari with the iPad explosion and Chrome with the Android explosion, and great work on HTML5 improvements. My prediction is we hear in the next 6 months to a year that Chrome has taken over IE as the most popular browser in the consumer world. That would be quite the day. IE has had the largest market share since we still were tracking AOL, Compuserv, Prodigy, and Mosiac. I'm referring to the paradigm shift of Netscape 4 and IE 4. Those were fascinating times to live.
Getting back on track, first off there's a wake up call for enterprises. The days of IE as a standard browser in large enterprises is going to face serious pressure. Enterprises must wake up to the reality of supporting alternate browsers in the enterprise. Developers will demand it, and then business leaders will demand it. Chrome and Firefox with their HTML5 support are being designed to for more and more HTML5 apps. Sure there are legacy apps out there that require IE, and that's why you see the combo things and backward compatibility features built into IE itself. I see users having options. Desktop images will support both IE and Chrome or Firefox. IE will be the becoming less and less the browser of choice because of the pain around the spattering array of IE 6 usage.
The other prediction I'd like to make is Device explosion. I expect that we will see 10% of enterprise devices will be non-Windows tablets in the next 12 months. Building Intranets will require more mobile interfaces, and iPad resolution considerations along with accommodations for Safari.
Prediction. Data and Trends based on recent Statcounter data.