Friday, December 30th, 2005

Bridging UI “programming” and UI “designing”

Category: Editorial

<p>Scott Dietzen of Zimbra write a piece called Ajax Design Center in which he discusses the future of Ajax tooling, and how we should be building Ajax applications.

He recognizes that UI frameworks such as Zimbra AjaxTK may be a bit too much for the average designer, and that a bridge needs to be formed.

Ultimately, we hope to see higher-level, and more declarative languages that can more easily be authored by Web designers, but nevertheless provide much (but perhaps not all) of the rich interaction capabilities of Ajax. And when you need to finely tune the GUI, you still have the option to drop into full-on Ajax programming. The age old adage “simple things, simple; hard things, possible” remains the mantra of choice.

We believe the best way to get there is to continue building bottom up:

  • Settle on a handful of Ajax widget toolkits and ensure they get to critical mass (Think SWT and Swing). We’re offering Zimbra AjaxTK as one such candidate, but the greater open source community is the final arbiter of winners.
  • Provide rich integrated open source tooling targeted primarily at GUI/OO programmers.
  • Define how to relatively easily augment existing HTML content (such as served by PHP, JSP, etc.) with Ajax subcomponents (that is, Ajax code would typically take over certain regions of the browser UI).
  • Experiment with higher-level declarative languages for authoring Ajax and HTML.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:26 am
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If the toolkits are layered (http://blog.dojotoolkit.org/wp-content/dojo.package.outline.png) and are draw together by a good package system, then why would a bridge be necessary?

Users of layered tools like Dojo or even Prototype+Scriptaculous+Behavior don’t have to decide between declarative markup and lightweight use in non single-page apps. They just include more as they move along the multi-page to single-page continuum.

In fact, I dare say that a good package system IS the bridge he seems to be looking for. I’ll offer to personally assist the Zimbra folks get going with the Dojo package system to do just this. They can just look to MochiKit to see how easy it is to add.

Regards

Comment by Alex Russell — December 30, 2005

That’s a good idea; JavaScript _should_ have had a good packaging system, but it doesn’t. Instead, let’s get one of the packaging toolkits, such as Dojo’s with its dojo.require(), adopted more widely (perhaps it will need to use more generic terms, such as javascript.require, js.require(), or js.import()).

Imagine this:

js.provide(“prototype.*”);

js.provide(“zimbra.net.*”);

etc. Just like JSON is becomming a rough defacto standard, why can’t we do the same with a simple packaging toolkit?

Comment by Brad Neuberg — December 31, 2005

Hey Brad,

It’s js.require() is just an alias away:

var js = dojo;

;-)

Comment by Alex Russell — January 1, 2006

The Web: Fifteen years of browsing
CHICAGO, Dec. 28 (UPI) — Fifteen years ago this Christmas week, Tim Berners-Lee, an obscure scientist working in a European laboratory, invented the Internet browser, now a fixture of the digital economy, experts tell United Press International’s The Web.

Sir Berners-Lee today still lives a simple professor’s lifestyle, bicycling around town, as his browser was supplanted by the Mosaic browser developed by a college student, Marc Andreessen at the University of Illinois, a few years later. Andreessen’s invention led to the creation of Netscape, the Netscape Navigator and other technologies that enervated to the go-go 1990s run in investment in technology on Wall Street and the creation of millions of jobs and hundreds of Internet companies here and abroad, including now household-names eBay.com and Amazon.com. By Gene Koprowski

Comment by Ted Smith — January 1, 2006

Use Flash

Comment by Jon — October 5, 2006

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