November 30, 2012 | Posted in:Uncategorized

Microsoft launched IE8 in selected locations for developers & partner preview. The key features as highlighted on its own website are

i. Activities

A mechanism to access and update contextual information from any web application. Key features are touted as Lookup and Send. For me its interesting to observe Microsoft follows Google pattern. Its a mix of derivations from GoogleLookup / Friendfeed and other such apis. Though the interesting part is an xml file that gets downloaded and installed on the browser once the user discovers and adds an activity in a true microsoft style. [I am wondering if this is going to result in being a security concern? ]

Microsoft’s developer documentation says something about an OpenService Activity format [No options here any more it seems. We all need to unzip and be open and finally the bigbrother is realising that or atleast it would like all we geeks to believe so. How open it is? Only time will tell].

Though in my view by building a IE dependent feature that could be easily implemented with pure AJAX and REST API’s its the same old game Microsoft is busy with. This mechanism will not work with any other browser at the moment without extra adoption on behalf of the browser.

I would be surprised if developers are going to fall for that.

Check this post to see how googlelookup feature works. When I used it it was unbelievably effective in looking up micro contextual info from the web since it is directly hooked up to the Google cloud and can work on all browsers.

ii. Web Slices

Again and again creating browser dependent features and calling them open standards is a gimmick that is easily seen. So they do have an open hAtom API that is a direct copy of GData but why they must bind it to IE. This can be easily implemented in AJAX.

I think this strategy of binding stuff to IE and making the implementation mechanism an open standard is prudent and any web developer adopting these need to beware. This simply means that the user must have IE8 to access features that are already there in the market using AJAX and can be accessed on all browsers. So what exactly they mean when they call it open.

And why would I make my webapp so tightly bound to IE.

Relevant links

On Xing