At the Forge - Communication in HTML5
For me, the improved form tags and expanded semantic markup for sections, headers and the like are both important and useful advances. But in many ways, I believe some of the most important improvements are a bit harder to understand and will take longer to catch on. These are improvements in how different pages may communicate with one another within the same browser or how the Web browser may communicate with outside resources.
A number of features in HTML5—and yes, some of these features aren't really part of the HTML5 specification, but I'll pretend they are for the purposes of this column—are designed to solve precisely this problem. These features aren't meant to make it easier to create Web pages, but rather Web applications. Specifically, I'm talking about interpage communication, WebSockets and threads, known as Web workers. Each of these topics probably deserves a column to itself, so I admit that the examples I provide here are meant to give you a taste of what's possible, rather than a comprehensive tutorial or example. Nevertheless, I hope you'll become excited about the possibilities raised here, and perhaps you'll even think of new and interesting ways to make use of these features.
Perhaps this should be the case, but to date, it has not been possible. That's due to privacy concerns. You didn't want one Web page to be able to read from or write to another page without permission, and there wasn't a standard that would provide such permission. This is true not only in the case of two separate pages, but also in the case of two iframes on the same page, which might want to affect each other.
Now, if you're thinking you actually have been able to do this in the past without any hoopla, you might be right. It's true that an iframe can communicate with, and even modify, its parent window, but only if the two pages have the same origin. HTML5 changes the rules of the game by allowing pages to communicate with one another, even if they have different origins.
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