Document viewers

Sara Somerville

 

Sara Somerville
Information Solutions Manager
University of Glasgow

 

Discussions at the AIIM conference

Goodbye Applets, Hello HTML5 Document Viewing – roundtable with Jean Baptiste Ronfard from Snowbound Software

With Oracle announcing its plans to discontinue its Java browser plugin, the era of applets is coming to an end. Emerging in its place is a wave of web-based applications that offer improved security and reduced client support, including a solution that is a pure HTML5 document viewer. Most of the big vendors in this space are now promoting HTML5 viewers as a way to view documents over the web.

Reasons why the Java plugins are being phased out:

  • Security – not many people are using them so the bugs aren’t being identified as quickly and therefore plugins have been the main focus of attacks
  • Stability – they often crash
  • Flash – this has also been phased out
  • Browser plugins – in general these are seeing an end to their useful lives.

However there isn’t as much functionality available from an HTML5 viewer when editing documents using a browser, and they don’t work that well with PDFs – particularly when adding annotations. The group believed that you can’t take HTML5 viewing seriously until some of these issues with PDFs are resolved.

Key takeaway: Not all HTML5 viewers are created equal! There are some viewers that have a huge amount of features and manage a large range of file types; it all comes down to your requirements.

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