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For me, one of the most exciting technologies to come out of the HTML 5 spec is WebSockets. A new way to “listen” for incoming messages and events occurring from the server side and pushing out the information to web browsers in realtime. Traditionally, developers have to regularly poll for information – which puts both stress on the client browser, and can be out of sync with the remote server. WebSockets aim to change all of that.
PusherApp is an easy to use API wrapper around the Websockets protocol. Their goal is to bring realtime notifications to the web for everyone, including those browsers who are in the unfortunate position to not yet have full support for this emerging technology. Although the Mozilla project have disabled Websockets temporarily from Opera and Firefox over potential security fears surrounding transparent proxies, PusherApp remains unaffected, with fallback to Flash sockets to relay messages between client and server.
That’s the main benefit, along with providing a unified API for developers looking to get up and running quickly, without the hassles of worrying about implementation for specific browsers. Check out some of the demos to see what can be achieved. It is a paid for product, however if you are planning on implementing a solution that requires graceful degradation, you could do a whole lot worse.