SkyDrive Ditches Silverlight for HTML5 with New Update

Microsoft today introduced the new and improved Windows Live SkyDrive powered by HTML5 which allows for HTML5 video, CSS3, and better loading experiences. No longer is SkyDrive reliant on Silverlight, Microsoft's Flash competitor for websites.

"Browser modernization has really opened up the window for us to rethink and re-architect how we build our websites. While we have always focused on improving the performance of our websites, it was clear that we had reached a point where the kinds of performance gains we were hoping for would not come without an assessment of our entire experience from the ground up. SkyDrive has been around since 2007 and was simply not built for the modern web," said SkyDrive Group Program Manager Omar Shahine.

Here is a rundown of some of the new features:

Everything runs faster

  • Caching and hardware acceleration – Common tasks and scenarios, like clicking on folders and navigating photo albums will go from 6-9 seconds down to 100-300 milliseconds. Microsoft has taken advantage of hardware accelerated graphics to make it fast to skip through slideshows.
  • Support for HTML5 video tag – Playback H.264 videos (with support for files of up to 100MB).
  • Pin SkyDrive to your taskbar – With Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7, you can pin SkyDrive to your taskbar for even faster access to the files you want. Create Word, Excel or PowerPoint docs stored in the cloud in just one click.

Easy to Navigate

  • All your content in one place including SkyDrive groups - Microsoft has combined all your photos, docs, files shared with you and files in SkyDrive groups into one view. The software giant took elements of the common file system you’re used to on Windows and Mac OS so navigating SkyDrive is more intuitive.
  • Quick views – Microsoft incorporated navigational elements and a layout that is consistent with Hotmail (Quick Views for recent docs & files shared with you).
  • Information pane - Ads have been removed to create room for a pane of information about your files – so you can take actions such as opening a doc in Word or Excel on the desktop directly from SkyDrive.

Photos are More Beautiful

  • Mosaic layout – Microsoft has removed the chrome out of the way to let your photos fill the browser. SkyDrive creates thumbnails that reflect the original aspect ratio of your picture. Portraits, landscapes and panoramas can retain their personality even in thumbnail mode.
  • Clean arrangement – Regardless of what size screen you have, how big your browser window is, or how many photos you have, SkyDrive always arranges your photos into a perfect, clean square. In achieving this, we use CSS3 Transitions to add life to your photo album by animating thumbnail rearranging when you resize the browser window.
  • Living, breathing presentation – When viewing your albums, SkyDrive pulses through your thumbnails, letting you experience the contents of an album even before diving in.
  • Infinite scrolling – Microsoft no longer have pages in the photo viewing experience; you just scroll the page and quickly see your photos fill in. It looks and feels like a native application.

Check out Windows Live SkyDrive here.

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