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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

 

 

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