Most users typically interact with the web through their favorite web browser. While there are specialized programs for FTP, mail, file sharing, the status quo has hardly changed. Now, Microsoft researchers are building an extensible HTML-based application platform codenamed 'C3'.
As <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/beyond-the-browser-microsofts-c3-nex... by Mary Jo Foley, C3 is taking HTML beyond the browser. C3 was first discussed last November in a paper titled <a href="http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/livshits/papers/tr/secure_...ﬁed Security for Browser Extensions"</a> which summarized C3 as "a new platform for HTML5 experimentation developed entirely in a type-safe, managed language."
Microsoft intends to <a href="http://www.usenix.org/events/webapps11/tech/">demonstrate</a> C3 at the WebApps '11 conference in June and further details have now been <a href="http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/blerner/papers/webapps2011.html">made available</a> about the project:
<blockquote>"We present C3, an implementation of the HTML/JS/CSS platform designed for web client research and experimentation. C3 introduces novel extension points and generalizes existing ones, creating simpler and more powerful opportunities for customization. In addition, C3's typesafe, modular architecture lowers the barrier to web and browser research. We discuss and evaluate C3's design decisions for flexibility, and provide examples for various extensions that we and others have built."</blockquote>
What we can learn from C3 is that HTML's use will only continue to grow in an age dominated by cloud services and the move to rich HTML5 apps within the browser. Microsoft's focus on building a secure and extensible platform around HTML should open up even more opportunities to deliver rich applications that could potentially run on any platform.