I am going to develop an instant messaging application that runs in the browser.
What browsers support the WebSocket API?
Any browser with Flash can support WebSocket using the web-socket-js shim/polyfill.
See caniuse for the current status of WebSockets support in desktop and mobile browsers.
It depends on which language you use.
In Java/Java EE:
V 7.5 supports RFC6455- Jetty 9.1 supports javax.websocket / JSR 356)
V 3.1.2 supports RFC6455
V 4.0.25 supports RFC6455
V 7.0.28 supports RFC6455
Some other Java implementations:
V 5.6 supports RFC6455
V 2.10 supports RFC6455
Vert.x (also known as Node.x) : A node like polyglot implementation running on a Java 7 JVM and based on Netty with :
Pusher.com is a Websocket cloud service accessible through a REST API.
DotCloud cloud platform supports Websockets, and Java (Jetty Servlet Container), NodeJS, Python, Ruby, PHP and Perl programming languages.
Openshift cloud platform supports websockets, and Java (Jboss, Spring, Tomcat & Vertx), PHP (ZendServer & CodeIgniter), Ruby (ROR), Node.js, Python (Django & Flask) plateforms.
For other language implementations, see the Wikipedia article for more information.
The RFC for Websockets : RFC6455
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