After reading a very cool post on InfoQ about current issues with asynchronous communication between browser and server, I looked into the HTML 5 WebSockets specification and it’s really very cool! Yes, people seem to be getting most excited about offline web-apps, client-side structured storage in HTML 5, but a bi-directional socket between client and server would be very useful, especially considering that a normal HTTP connection can be upgraded on the fly thus keeping any security like TLS. Other things in the HTML 5 specification are also very attractive so it’s worth reading the spec. While examining the specification and browsing about the W3C site, I noticed two other things which are currently under draft. The first is a novel way to shorten URLs used in XML documents in a system called Compact URIs or CURIE. The draft syntax for CURIEs is novel, simple and clearly full of potential. Who doesn’t want to be able to use wiki-style links such as [isbn:0827608047] or some such? The second is XFDL, the Extensible Forms Description Language used for relibaly and securely implementing forms. Everyone hates paperwork and this might be a step in the right direction. My only question is why it’s still indraft form (since 1998) if it’s being used by brances of the military? Finally we have XFrames, a supposedly-decent way to get around the many issues with those web pages using frames. The spec is a little hairy but we’ll see how it and it’s implementations shape up as time goes on. There was a time when I was losing faith in the W3C as they got mired in projects which seemed far-removed from the needs of the people or altogether impractical. Now, it looks like they’ve got great stuff brewing and I’m rather excited to see where it goes.