By Ryan Paul
VMware is developing an impressive new feature called WSX that will allow users to access virtualized desktops remotely through any modern Web browser. VMware developer Christian Hammond, who worked on the implementation, demonstrated a prototype this week in a blog post.
According to Hammond, WSX is built with standards-based Web technologies, including the HTML5 Canvas element and Web Sockets. The user installs and runs a lightweight Web server that acts as a relay between the Web-based client and the virtualized desktop instance. It is compatible with VMware Workstation and ESXi/vSphere.
WSX, which doesn’t require any browser plugins, is compatible out of the box with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on the desktop. It will also work with mobile Safari on iPads that are running iOS 5 or later. Hammond says that Android compatibility is still a work in progress.
The performance is said to be good enough to provide “near-native quality and framerates” when viewing a 720p YouTube video on the virtualized desktop through WSX in Chrome or Firefox. Users who want to test the feature today can see it in action by downloading the Linux version of the VMware Workstation Technology Preview.
Although it’s still somewhat experimental, WSX is a compelling demonstration of how far the Web has evolved as a platform. It also shows how the ubiquity of Web standards make it possible to deliver complex applications across a wide range of platforms and device form factors.
Hammond also said he was working on tapping the new iPad’s higher resolution:
“The most talked about feature of the new iPad is, of course, the shiny new retina display (a 2048×1536 resolution). A few apps really show this off, and text is certainly crisp, but a few people wondered aloud, ‘Is it really that big of a difference?’ Yes, it is.
Naturally, I had to play around with getting WSX to show a retina-friendly desktop. See, by default, everything is scaled up 2x to simulate the resolution of the original iPad (1024×768), but they have some support in there for loading higher-resolution images. Turns out, with some tricks, you can also make the canvas retina-friendly.”
What say you of VMware’s new WSX? Also, what of the new iPad’s new real estate in this and every business context? I’m thinking virtual or not, the resolution makes the new iPad much more appealing as a work device.
The VMware demo was one of the most impressive HTML5 demos that we saw this week, but there are a few other newsworthy items that we want to share in this roundup.
If you missed our Web coverage on Ars this week, be sure to check out our hands-on review of Firefox 11, which introduced a new built-in stylesheet editor and 3D DOM viewer. You might also be interested in ourreport on Mozilla’s proposal to support H.264 video playback in mobile Firefox.
Article source: http://www.wired.com/cloudline/2012/03/vmware-wsx/