Modern browsers have the potential to create experiences that break the mold of traditional brochure style websites. These experiences cross devices and truly engage users. It’s all made possible by evolving browsers that are capable of a lot more than originally intended.

In this post we’ll cover a few of the technologies that are pushing browsers and the internet forward.

CSS3

In the beginning, if you wanted to create an interactive experience you had to use Flash or a similar 3rd party technology. CSS was good for basic styling but you ultimately had to resort to an HTML table based layout if you wanted full control over the structure of your site.

Now, we can accomplish many of the things previously only possible with Flash with pure CSS. CSS3 allows developers to not only style their sites but create engaging cross device animations and effects. These effects range from subtle user experience cues to interactive games and videos.

Javascript

In the beginning, JavaScript was an easy way to add basic interactivity to sites. It was clunky and often confused the most seasoned developers.

Now, JavaScript powers the web equivalents of applications like Microsoft Word and Photoshop right in your browser. JavaScript, like CSS3, has finally matured to the point developers are using it for both the front end and back end of their sites. Libraries like jQuery helped get it to where it is today and libraries like Angular will keep pushing it forward. Now you can use it for a lot more than just validating forms and sorting tables.

Media

In the beginning, audio and video were only possible with Flash or a similar 3rd party technology. See a trend here? Some of my earliest jobs as a developer were building custom Flash players and media galleries.

Now, we can use Audio and Video in a similar way to how we would add images to our sites. Using browser APIs we can take better control of online media to create experiences that are part of the website and not just within it. There are still a few hurdles to get over but we’re a lot better off than where we started.

Websockets

In the beginning, data was slow and resource intensive. Websites were pretty static and dynamic content took the form of Flash intros and embedded video clips.

Now, data moves in near real time allowing developers to connect devices and people without breaking the experience. Websockets enable developers to push content to the browser versus the earlier method of having to continuously check for new content. As a result we can create a new type of social experience.

Local Storage

In the beginning, everything lived on the server and browsers were limited in what they could store locally.

Now, we can store data in browsers allowing for more efficient data transfer and offline access to content. This is a must have for any modern-day web application so your content is always available.

- Photo by eGuidry

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