The Rise of Modern Web

Published: 11/19/2021

Today, the web reaches more than 4.6 billion people, who spend nearly seven hours per day online.1 This ubiquitous adoption presents an unprecedented opportunity. We can evolve the architecture of the web to harness the latest technology breakthroughs—from AI and machine learning to high-performance graphics and telemetry—ultimately improving every experience, every time you connect to the internet.

For the computer ecosystem, achieving this goal requires new ways of innovating. We need to bring together the best of the cloud and the best of the client, with zero latency, native-like capabilities and experiences, and hardened security. As we accelerate innovation, we must remove the compromises of yesterday's web and introduce the capabilities of tomorrow's.

This is the rise of the modern web—and it's poised to transform our lives, once again, as we enter a new era of distributed intelligence.

The Modern Web Delivers the Best of Both Worlds

The modern web is powered by a growing set of progressive web applications, web APIs, hardware accelerators, and other sophisticated technologies that combine the reach of the cloud with the capabilities of the client. Developers are using these technologies to create, enrich, and secure everyday web experiences, from work and school to entertainment and connection.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) Empower Developers & Enrich Experiences

PWAs are at the heart of the modern web. Like web applications, they are instantly accessible from any browser, device, and platform. Like built-in applications, they integrate deeply with Windows* and Chrome* operating systems, preserve privacy, and tap into powerful APIs and hardware capabilities. Simply put, PWAs turn websites into applications.

They deliver important benefits for both developers and the experiences they create. The growth of the PWA market reflects the speed of their adoption: the use of available PWAs grew by 170 percent in 2020, and the PWA market is expected to reach $10.44 billion by 2027.2,3

With PWAs, web developers can tap into client capabilities, like notifications, the start menu, file system access, and Bluetooth® technology, as well as adapt experiences for new and different form factors, such as gaming on 2-in-1 computers and foldable screens. At the same time, PWAs are easier and more cost-effective to build, deploy, and maintain, helping to provide developers bottom-line return on investment (ROI) compared to building a built-in application to run across multiple operating systems.4 These benefits are available with easy PWA-building tools so developers can write once and deploy everywhere.

Hardware Accelerators & Web APIs Poised to Unlock New Capabilities

By adopting PWAs, the computer ecosystem is already moving toward the next phase in the rise of the modern web: the open-source web APIs that expose the tremendous power of hardware accelerators. This enables developers to create new experiences with low-latency AI, graphics, and other advanced capabilities. These capabilities include:

  • WebGPU provides lower overhead access to modern graphics processing units (GPUs), more predictable performance and features like GPU compute as the successor to WebGL. WebGPU also exposes modern graphics capabilities, including Direct3D* 12, Metal and Vulkan* for rendering and computations on client GPUs. This benefits existing uses like video conferencing and enables emerging uses for visuals, gaming, and AI.
  • Web Neural Network (WebNN) (under development) defines a web-friendly abstraction for the machine-learning capabilities of the underlying platforms, allowing efficient utilization of CPU, GPU, and accelerators. This addresses the requirements of key machine-learning JavaScript* frameworks and allows web developers to write machine-learning code without the need for custom libraries.
  • Compute Pressure (under development) enables web applications and PWAs to adapt to the utilization levels of the platform compute resources and deliver optimized experiences for video conferencing and gaming, among other use cases. Applications can make automatic adjustments in their features and even their logic to avoid lag and slowdowns, such as lowering video quality, turning off camera filters, disabling incoming video feeds, or tweaking quality versus speed knobs.

As tracked by Project Fugu, dozens of these web APIs are now available, and more than 100 others are in development or under consideration.7

Toward Distributed Intelligence

Intel is also working to bridge the web and container technologies to enable software architectures that offer more flexible execution models beyond the traditional client-server model, where partitioning of computations between the client and the server is essentially done statically. These advances are moving us toward a world of distributed intelligence. This brings real-time, dynamic orchestration where each workload is placed wherever it runs best.

Whether creating faster AI language understanding, streamlining video conference experiences, or reducing cloud-hosting costs, the opportunities for distributed intelligence are immense. By working closely with ecosystem partners and the developer community, Intel is committed to expanding these benefits to the scale of the web itself and delivering on the promise of the modern web.

Explore Developer Resources to Build the Modern Web

Many modern web tools are already available, open source, and straightforward to use. See what’s possible, elevate your applications, and join the movement to build the modern web.

General Resources

Intel Developer Zone

Guide to Progressive Web Apps

PWABuilder

W3C

Project Fugu’s API Tracker

Specific API Resources

WebGPU: Specification and Blog

WebNN: Specification and Examples

Compute Pressure

WebCodecs

WebAssembly System Interface

Device Posture

Special thanks to those who worked on this project, in particular Mohammad Haghighat, Kenneth Christiansen, Chris Kelly, Qi Zhang, Arvind Kumar, Prashant Bhardwaj, Barbara Hochgesang, Yang Gu, Ningxin Hu.

Footnotes

  1. Simon Kemp, Digital 2021: Global Overview Report 2021, Datareportal
  2. Maximiliano Firtman, Progressive Web Apps in 2021, Firt.dev
  3. Emergen Research, Market Synopsis 2020
  4. Jackie Tran, PWA vs Built-In App and How to Choose Between Them - Magestore 2021
  5. Alex Burets, An Extensive Guide to Progressive Web Apps, October 22, 2020, SC&
  6. Daniel An, Why Wait? A Progressive Web App Can Drive Mobile Revenue Right Now, February 2018
  7. WebGPU: Intel is a member and sponsor of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and is a contributor to WebGPU as part of a W3C working group.
    WebNN: Intel is a contributor and specification coeditor with Microsoft to create WebNN as part of the W3C working groups.
    Compute Pressure: This is in development by Intel and Google* under the W3C Platform Incubator Community Group.

 

Product and Performance Information

1

Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at www.Intel.com/PerformanceIndex.