updated 09:25 am EDT, Tue July 12, 2011
Pandora redesigns web to move past Adobe
Pandora on Tuesday unveiled a redesign of its website built around escaping the limitations of Flash. The new page is built entirely on HTML5 and takes advantage of dropping Adobe's plugin to improve its speed and interface. Stations now load in about a third of the time, and there's now a persistent music playback bar borrowed from the iPad app that lets listeners explore artists or other parts of the site without interrupting play.
Following a true web standard also lets Pandora honor browser commands and offer real web sharing that wasn't possible with the Flash version, CTO Tom Conrad told TechCrunch. Sharing is more important with social feeds and live views of what friends are playing. Users can send word of their current stations or tracks within Pandora as well as Facebook or Twitter using a simple web overlay.
HTML5 isn't being designed at this early stage for mobile devices, but it's "nice to have" a foundation should it be useful later, Conrad explained.
The redesign should be visible this week, starting with Pandora One members as a control group followed by everyone. Flash will still be around, but it will be a crutch for those who don't have modern HTML5 browsers.
Pandora's move is a minor slap to Adobe. The graphics software developer has claimed itself willing to support Flash and HTML5 but, to this day, still argues that Flash is an essential part of the web. A redesign of Pandora would not only help support arguments that HTML5 can drive a complex media site but also help compatibility and performance with mobile, even on devices that already support Flash. The plugin is known to still drain much more battery life than HTML5 when active and can still perform poorly on dual-core tablets and smartphones.