Thursday, February 1st, 2007
Darryl Taft has written up a talk that Adam Bosworth (now at Google, created Ajax at Microsoft) gave in New York entitled Physics, Speed and Psychology: What Works and What Doesn’t in Software, and Why.
Bosworth said he has been building software for about 30 years and “not all of it works” all the time. “The reason, on reflection, turned out to largely depend on physics and human psychology,” he said. And “a lot of it had to do with Tom Cruise,” Bosworth said, citing the actor’s line in the movie “Top Gun” where Cruise says, “I feel the need, the need for speed.”
Indeed, speed or lack thereof has played a role in hampering the success of various software innovations, including AJAX, Bosworth said. Had chips been a little faster and broadband been more ubiquitous, AJAX might have caught on a lot faster. However, the physics of the technology was only one of the factors holding AJAX back.
He goes on to explain why Ajax failed (misperceptions of the realities of the way people would use the technology: “Gestures like tooling, icons, right-click and drag-drop are too obscure”), and how it got a second life:
However, in the end, AJAX got a second life, primarily because the physics changed, Bosworth said
For one thing, the use of broadband soared suddenly, and then chips became “massively faster” than they had been in 1997. This helped make carefully crafted applications “quick enough,” though it’s still hard to write these applications, Bosworth said.
Meanwhile, usage also changed. “A large number of people started using Web applications more than once a day,” particularly for functions like e-mail, calendars, social networking and trading.
Posted by Dion Almaer at 10:59 am