InfoWorld has written a huge amount about HTML5, but we spent some time debating internally whether to include it in this list. The naysayers pointed out that we've been putting tags together to form Web pages since the beginning of the World Wide Web. HTML5 has simply added new tags. Did we stop what we were doing to celebrate when someone invented the
Others took the practical view that while HTML5 looks similar to old-fashioned HTML, the tasks it accomplishes are dramatically different. The local data storage, the
<canvas> tag, and the video tag make it possible to do much more than pour marked-up words and images into a rectangle. Plus, the new HTML5 WebSockets spec defines a new way to conduct full-duplex communication for event-driven Web apps.
In the end, Adobe's decision to end development of mobile Flash tipped the debate. Suddenly an entire corner of the Web that used to deliver video, casual games, and other animated content is back in play. An entire sector of the Web development industry is going to retool as we move to HTML5 from Flash. And that represents a tectonic shift for Web developers. --Peter Wayner
9. Client-side hypervisors
Conventional desktop virtualization has faltered for two key reasons: It requires a continuous connection between client and server, and the server itself needs to be beefy to run all those desktop VMs.
A client hypervisor solves both problems. It installs on an ordinary desktop or laptop, leveraging the processing power of the client. And laptop users can take a "business VM" with them containing the OS, apps, and personal configuration settings. That VM is secure and separate from whatever else may be running on that desktop -- such as a malware some clueless user accidentally downloaded -- and you get all the virtualization management advantages, including VM snapshots, portability, easy recovery, and so on.
Type 2 client-side hypervisors such as VMware Player, VirtualBox, and Parallels Desktop have been in existence for years; they run on top of desktop Windows, Linux, or OS X to provide a container for a guest operating system. Type 1 client-side hypervisors -- which run on bare metal and treat every desktop OS as a guest -- provide better security and performance. They're also completely transparent to the end user, never a drawback in a technology looking for widespread adoption.
Client hypervisors point to a future where we bring our own computers to work and download or sync our business virtual machines to start the day. Actually, you could use any computer with a compatible client hypervisor, anywhere. The operative word is "future" -- Citrix, MokaFive, and Virtual Computer are the only companies so far to release a Type 1 client hypervisor, due in part to the problem Windows has dealt with for years: supplying a sufficient number of drivers to run across a broad array of hardware. However, these companies will be joined next year by Microsoft itself, which plans to include Hyper-V in Windows 8.
Make no mistake, Windows 8 Hyper-V will require 64-bit Intel or AMD hardware. Don't expect bare-metal virtualization from your ARM-based Windows 8 tablet -- or any other tablet -- anytime soon. Note too that, unlike Citrix, MokaFive, and Virtual Computer, which built their client hypervisors with the express purpose of easing Windows systems management, Microsoft has stated that Windows 8 Hyper-V will be aimed strictly at developers and IT pros.
But hey, we're talking about Microsoft. It won't stop with developers and IT pros. Yes, tablets are making their way into the workplace, but the fact of the matter is that large-scale Windows desktop deployments are not going away, and Microsoft will be under more pressure than ever to make them easier to manage. With more and more employees working outside of the office -- or using a stipend to buy their own PCs and bring them to work -- the security and manageability of the client-side hypervisor will offer a compelling desktop computing alternative. --Eric Knorr