One of the new features that went live this week was the introduction of new graphs that are designed to replace our existing Flash-based graphs. The technology we are using for these graphs is called SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). SVG has been around for a while, though it has only recently become a first-class citizen of the web through the advent of HTML5.
HTML5 is the umbrella term for a wide range of technologies designed to enhance the web experience. HTML5 is designed to move the web beyond the browser (like allowing access to the file system or devices such as your webcam), to transforming the way that we connect to the web (such as sockets which enable real-time, bi-directional communication across the Internet), as well as bringing the rich and vibrant world of multimedia and gaming to the web (through technologies such as SVG, Canvas and the awesome WebGL).
While HTML5 is an ever-emerging standard, it is one that is well embraced by all the browser vendors. All the latest versions of the browsers we all love (such as IE, Firefox, Safari or Chrome) all support a large array of the HTML5 standard, enabling web developers like those at Xero to take big leaps forward in the kinds of user experiences that we can deliver to our customers.
This means we no longer need to rely on plugins (such as Flash or Microsoft’s Silverlight) to deliver content like our graphs.
This is also very important because one of the largest adoptions of HTML5 has happened in the smartphone space where plugins are being removed to enhance the performance of the device. So to deliver on our vision of creating the best mobile experience we can for Xero, we absolutely had to make this shift (and in many respects it’s been a long time coming). With the graphs (as well as some other tweaks for the iPad in particular) we believe we’re really starting to deliver on our strategy of making Xero great on every platform.
To check out the new graphs you can either disable Flash or browse to Xero using a device that does not have Flash installed – like the iPhone or iPad. This is just version 1 – there are still lots of tweaks we will do over the next few releases to make them even better, and then we will be completely phasing out the Flash graphs.
Let us know what you think!