Microsoft has been beating the HTML5 drum increasingly loudly as its HTML5-compliant Internet Explorer (IE) 9 browser approaches the finish line. Company execs have said HTML5 is central to the company's cross-platform strategy. And IE 9 is seemingly at the heart of Microsoft's tablet push.
So what is Microsoft going to do, as far as putting its HTML5 development muscle where its mouth is?
But from tips I've been getting lately, Microsoft is poised to take things up a notch -- and might even announce some of its new tooling plans at the Mix '11 conference in mid-April.
Brust said he could see screen-design tools for the <canvas> tag, and SmartTag dialogs or other GUIs for working with the <audio>, <video> and other new tags being appreciated by Visual Studio developers.
Scott Barnes, a former Softie and founder of FIXWPF.org, said he'd expect any new Microsoft HTML5 tooling story would "likely to have Expression Blend/Web team’s involved given their current experience in this area."
"The tooling would need to complement Adobe software more so than the way Expression Blend and Web have in the past," Barnes said, "as that’s where the hearts and minds of designers are today."
"The last time Microsoft approached these folks, they wanted to drag them across kicking and screaming to the way Blend / Web works," Barnes said. "It didn’t work and has failed miserably. This time, they need to dig deeper and work harder to complement Adobe technology in order to combine .NET and HTML5 (with PHP sprinkled in for server share)."
If Microsoft does end up fielding new tooling for building HTML5 apps, the new tools won't usurp the place of the current F12 tools, Brust said. Some devs may only need the existing tools; others may use the full set.
"IE and Visual Studio each need HTML 5 dev tooling," he explained. "And while there is certainly overlap in the feature set each should have, they do in fact serve different audiences. The IE tooling would be for general diagnostic work with HTML and script on the client; the VS tooling would be for .NET developers building substantial Web server applications that also provide HTML 5 on the front-end."