Friday, October 6th, 2006

Ajax and REST

Category: Articles

Bill Higgins has released part one of his article series on Ajax and REST:

The more that server-side Web applications become immersive by following rich-application models and delivering personalized content, the more their architectures violate Representational State Transfer (REST), the Web’s architectural style. These violations can decrease application scalability and increase system complexity. By achieving harmony with REST, Ajax architecture lets immersive Web applications eliminate these negative effects and enjoy REST’s desirable properties.

He gets into the joy of a stateful web client, caching the Ajax engine as well as data.

Promose and problems

For the class of Web applications that I call immersive Web applications, well-designed Ajax/REST applications are far superior to traditional server-wide Web applications with regard to user experience, responsiveness, and scalability. However, an architectural style’s run-time characteristics aren’t the only determinant of success for a software project and Web application. There are some tough non-run-time problems with creating Ajax/REST applications, including problems of large-scale JavaScript development, cultural issues, and packaging problems. I’ll be discussing the cultural issues in a companion article and will leave the other concerns for my Ajax colleagues to tackle.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:38 am

3.4 rating from 30 votes


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Thanks very much for the link Dion. If anyone has any questions or criticisms about the article that they’d like to post here, I’ll monitor this entry for a few days.

Comment by Bill Higgins — October 6, 2006

This is an excellent article, and strikes right at the heart of issues that so much of the industry has just accepted as the way things are, but should not. The fact of the matter is 15 years ago if someone told you that you had to program using a piece of code that the would expire and restarted in 30 minutes if not used and would consume your memory for 30 minutes even if only used for 5 seconds, you would thought it ridiculous. But now, everyone has accepted http sessions as the norm for web application programming, despite it being a terrible construct. It is a major paradigm shift, but I believe the future of web applications is true client centric (client side state representation) applications. Such apps are almost non-existent, and most AJAX-powered websites still don’t come close to making this entire shift. With such applications, server resources are minimized, and clients don’t have timeouts.
That said, I can help but put in a shameless plug for framework that I am developing. I am working on web framework/content management system is built on the foundational principal of being a true client application centric with client side representational. I believe it is really a revolutionary shift in development. Application logic is built to be executed on the client. Code can access the domain model on one line, and DOM elements on the next line. And no timeouts, and much less server resources. Http sessions are used only for doing precaching performance optimization, not for state. I don’t have much on my website yet, but you track the development of this framework at
One last thing that I really find sad about http sessions, is that so often web developers have tried to tell users that have been “logged off for security purposes”, try to cover up this lousy construct with a silly excuse.

Comment by Kris Zyp — October 9, 2006

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