SXSW 2011 and Browser Wars IV

On March 15 2011 the browser wars panel is back in Austin again, and I’m back again as moderator. We took a year off last year, but this year I’m headed to Texas with renewed gusto to once again pit representatives from Mozilla’s Firefox browser (Brendan Eich, inventor of JavaScript and Mozilla’s CTO), Google’s Chrome browser (Alex Russell, behind Dojo and Chrome Frame), Microsoft’s IE (John Hrvatin, lead Program Manager of IE), and Opera (Lars Erik Bolstad, Head of Engineering, Opera Software) together to talk about their web browser projects, HTML5, and about the new wave of competition.

Once again, it’s a contentious time for a web platform discussion (which is what has made moderating this panel fun, really). Firstly, there’s the small question of whether web browsers themselves are no longer the juiciest part of the newest new technology and media landscape. The nice folks at Wired Magazine think the web’s kind of done (as in, dead), since everyone’s using apps on iPhones and happily signing in to closed systems now (they mention HTML5 in passing twice).

But then again, for the past two years, HTML5 has been the dubious all-inclusive catch phrase for all that’s new on the web and in mobile, and has found itself at the fore of various axes that corporations have to grind against each other. But catch phrases easily lend themselves to obfuscation, and sometimes companies have to be told off for all the nuance that’s lost through their misguided HTML5 advocacy. Even the W3C got into the act, first sanctioning the all-inclusive catch phrase and then recanting in favor of nuance.

Let’s cut to the chase: how fast can we evolve the web really, what’s with app stores, HTML5 video, and where are the painful spots with disagreements when we collectively craft standards on behalf of developers? As always, audience participation is a huge part of the discussion, so come with burning questions and pressing curiosity. March 15, 2011.

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