Which version of HTML5 WebSocket?

I have blogged about Why we don’t need HTML5 WebSocket previously – and to recap, it’s not that we don’t need it, it’s not really that important until it is far more widespread and that is a very long way off.

Anyway, Google have just announced that they have Updated WebSocket in Chrome. I follow the hybi mailing list which is where most WebSocket discussion goes on and there is far from a consensus on many aspects of WebSocket, which has led to the changes the Google blog mentions, and there will almost certainly be more. Google noted this too and state that they will continue to update their WebSocket implementation regardless of compatibility issues until a more stable spec is available.

So where does that leave us? The only browser that supports WebSocket is updating and will continue to update its support for WebSocket, breaking compatibility with WebSocket servers, who will most likely also be updating to newer versions as they are available. I think this is the right choice for Chrome and server implementers – but it does mean that WebSocket for any kind of serious web application is clearly not viable. I hope any web apps and server implementations can handle the compatibility issues gracefully so they can fallback to other Comet techniques, as they have to with all other browsers anyway.

I look forward to a day when WebSocket is usable – but for now it’s business as usual.

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