The Third Age of the Web is Here,
and It’s Mobile.

The First Age of the Web

The first age was the age of browser wars. Netscape vs. Microsoft. Netscape innovated fiercely but haphazardly. It extended HTML aggressively and gave us many innovations; some excellent like SSL, some unwise like frames. Microsoft saw the Web as a platform to co-opt. The long strategy memo “The Web is the Next Platform” from May 1995, is a remarkable blueprint to embrace and control the web.

Ultimately Microsoft won the war through better standards and better products but mainly through its control of browser distribution through desktop PC makers. By 2002, Microsoft had 96% share of the browser market.

The Second Age of the Web

And then a remarkable thing happened. Nothing. Detailed in “Breaking Windows”, the book by David Bank, the Internet team at Microsoft lost the internal battle against the Windows team for the future. Windows, not the Internet would be the focus for the company. And the second age of the internet — the long darkness of IE6 — began. In this age, standards went into a tailspin of architectural elegance, producing work that few could understand and fewer could implement.

Then, hints of a new dawn: Firefox’s amazingly speedy debut; Safari, new in 2003 and open sourced in 2004. Google Maps in 2005 and the power of Ajax. The remarkable Apple iPhone in 2007, a product so “right” that you wondered how a company could know you so well. Ubiquitous 3G. The WHATWG rescuing web standards with readable specifications and clear use cases.

The Third Age of the Web

Which brings us to the present. Over the last three years, native apps have received all the attention. Apple first gave developers the frameworks they needed to build applications that made sense for devices with small screens and touch input. The Apple App Store also solved two of the problems that had always troubled the web: trusted device access and micro-payments. There will be no “End of Native”: native mobile applications won’t go away.

But the web ended up ten to twenty times bigger than native the first time around. We believe it can again. Web applications have huge advantages vs.native. They’re usable on any device with multiple browsers. They’re inherently searchable and deep-linkable. They’re composable with a huge selection of advertising, analytic, social connector and mashup services. And everyone knows Javascript.

The Mobile Web

As a result, we believe that the mobile web can get big… fast. HTML5 technologies in webkit browsers will handle 90% of mobile web traffic by the end of the year. We see an explosion of tablets in consumer and business hands. Together, many companies and many technologies will build this next ecosystem. One of those building blocks will be frameworks to help developers quickly build cross-platform mobile web applications. We believe we have the first solution, although we do not expect to be the last.

Today, our company, Sencha, introduces a new application framework called Sencha Touch. It’s the first HTML5 framework for the mobile web. It’s cross-platform and lets you build web apps that make sense for mobile devices. It comes with comprehensive UI components, complete touch management and an extensive data package. You can build amazing apps with it.

To learn more, visit our web site, read our blog post introducing the product, see the demos, or just download the beta and start coding. We look forward to seeing your app on the World Wide Web.

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