The Future of the Web: HTML 5, WebSocket, and Comet

The HTML 5 specification is set to forever change the way in which we build applications for the Web. One innovation- WebSocket- in particular will enable full-duplex HTTP communication, and finally bring an end to the tired “click and wait” paradigm traditionally associated with the Web. Prior to the introduction of WebSockets, bi‑directional browser communication has been an elusive beast. Attempts to address this gap in the Internet architecture has circled around server-initiated message deliver or “push” techniques, commonly known as Comet or ReverseAjax, and typically achieved with an astonishing assortment of browser hacks. But, the emerging standards outlined in the HTML 5 specification, developers can now take advantage of a full-duplex communications channel that operates over a single socket. More specifically, WebSockets enable browsers to open a socket connection to any TCP-based back-end service (for example, JMS, JMX, IMAP, Jabber, and so on). Therefore, it is now possible to simplify the convoluted Java EE architectures of yore and build applications that communicate with native protocols over HTTP directly from the browser to any data-service. Thus, with the help of WebSockets the browser now enjoys the first citizenry of network communications that has long been enjoyed by desktop applications. As a result, WebSockets bring the promise of finally migrating the desktop to the Web. The speaker will provide an in-depth look into the use of HTML 5 WebSocket and the techniques and technologies required to build Comet-style applications with WebSockets. Furthermore, the session will introduce the server and network architecture necessary to power Comet-style applications using WebSockets. In addition, and most importantly, to the pitfalls they may face in the process.