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My take on the Ajax fad

My reaction on the fad of Ajax is posted in a comment to an O'Reilly article Is AJAX Here to Stay?


When people boast with the term 'ajax framework' I sneer. There is no framework in software development sense, no library, no API, no references. Ajax is primary a web applications look and feel. Part of it is a technique to overcome the page by page look and feel of regular web applications. Another part is a lot of client side coding to update the screen and simulate desktop widgets.

Before 'ajax' is coined, we have another term to describe these client side coding - DHTML, a collection of tools make up of HTML, javascript, dom, event, css, etc. As any DHTML partitioner can tell you, it is lots of hard work, trials and error, and hair pulling to get these trickery done. Ajax suggests we do this in a massive scale. Adding cross browser, cross platform support into the equation and you'll find it is not really for the faint of heart.

Now we have some very smart people pushing the envelope of existing primitives and built some very cool applications. Everybody else is trying to follow suit. What we really need is a higher level web application and widget framework to make this sustainable.

Two developments come into my radar screen. Both are browser independent. XForm poise to be the next generation of web forms and it could form the basis of richer user interface. The OpenLaszlo platform allows developers to create applications with the rich user interface. Although it currently requires Flash as the runtime engine.

As much as I like to see a rich user interface, it is also important to keep in the balance with simplicity. I'm rather weary of sending thousands of lines of javascript to be executed on client. It is not the efficiency as suggested in the article that concerns me. It is the complexity of those code that makes me feel uncomfortable.

2005.10.09 [] - comments

 

Wireless San Francisco

The news of San Francisco building a city-wide wireless network is getting a lot of attention these days. Broadbandreports runs several stories on this. While broadbandreports itself is a proponent of municipal broadband, I am surprise that the news draw torrents of criticism from readers. Many reject this because it is a 'liberal' thing. Other took the line of incumbent telcos that existing access methods is preferable to a public project.

While I think many posting are nothing but political fervent, I am also disappointed that people do not see the potential of universal connectivity as a big step forward (a departure from the usually 'hypish' technology sector). I have posted my reaction, which I include here:


Reader's post

Disgusting

It is pathetic how the flaming Left in this country has confused the term "right" and "entitlement." Sure, everyone has a "right" to Wifi. There is nothing stopping you from working, earning some money and buying the needed tools yourself. Its no different than there being a right to free speech and free press. Does this mean the government is required to provide you with the means to exercise those rights? Of course not.

Some other posters here have mentioned guns. Under Mayor Newsom's reasoning, the right to gun ownership requires that the government give free guns out to everyone.

My response

There is nothing stopping you from working, earning some money and buying the needed tools yourself.

True. There is also nothing to stop private entities to build railroads and toll roads and then charge everyone a use fee either. Just like what the country did a century ago. Do you find it disgusting that the government took it upon themselves to build roads and offer it for free to people?

Look there are no lack of proposals from commercial companies to offer the service, apparently costing the city little. People get access in the parks and schools and cafe and hopefully all pocket of households that do not yet have access. I don't understand what the objection is. Do you have a better proposal?

3G, if it is available at all, would cost a bundle. Imagine now that there is universal wireless access. You go to a shop and look at an item. You'll pull your PDA or cellphone and do a search on the UNC code. Immediately it turns out a list of reviews, links to other outlets, and recommendation for alternatives or accessories you'll need. You'd IM your wife. Once she sees the picture she'd told you you got the wrong stuff again! That's new commerce that will be enabled by universal access! You'd bet Google is working on that already!

You'd think broadband report readers are a bunch of smart guys. But when it comes to public project all the anti-government ideology would just overcome their judgement. Guys I'm off to hack the next big thing for the future of universal connectivity. Go on with your anti-government bashing.

2005.10.04 [, , ] - comments

 

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