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Google offers IE users faster Wave gravy

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OSCON Microsoft web surfers have been promised faster helpings of Wave gravy following Google's release of Splash.

Splash is an open-source client for Internet Explorer users to view and consume Google Wave applications and conversations embedded in websites. It replaces use of Google's Chrome Frame – the IE plug-in that the company polished only last month.

Google promised Splash would deliver a "significantly" faster way for IE users to work with Google Wave. Wave is Google's fledgling email meets IM meets document-sharing architecture.

Splash is faster because it uses static rendering to produce HTML code and then puts JavaScript on top. Google's own Wave client and Chrome Frames works the other way around. Google released Splash during the O'Reilly Open-Source Convention in Portland, Oregon.

Google has complained that IE's poor rendering of JavaScript slows Google Wave and that IE's use of HTML5 is patchy at best.

IE8 does include some HTML5, but it does not embrace the full spec – such as the HTML5 video tag. Earlier versions of Microsoft's browser that are still very much in evidence – including the refuse-to-die IE6 – do not touch HTML5 at all.

In September last year, Google appeared to have given up on the idea of juicing Wave in IE, saying this was time it could have invested elsewhere on Wave. Google decided IE users would have to work with the Chrome-Frame approach.

"Using Google Chrome Frame instead lets us invest all that engineering time in more features for all our users, without leaving Internet Explorer users behind," Google said.

Nearly a year later, though, with all versions of IE stubbornly clinging on to 60 per cent of the web, and with Wave still at an extremely early stage of development and adoption, Google has clearly decided it's time to revisit the subject to help promote Wave.

Wave has a number of early adopters – including Novell, SAP and Accenture – who've likely emphasized the need for better IE support. Projects have also appeared, such as Ruby on Sails and Wavelook for Outlook, while the US Navy has expressed an interest in putting Wave servers on its ships.

Despite this, Wave's basic plumbing is still being hammered out. Even demos of Wave during OSCON didn't quite work properly – and that's just over a year after Wave was announced at Google's I/O conference and two months after the invitation-only access label to Wave was scrapped and Google cordially invited world+dog to come in and test the system.

Wave's components are moving at different speeds too: while code for Splash has been released, it does not support Wave's FedOne communications federation server. That's expected in two to three months' time. ®

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