Friday, August 11th, 2006

Mobile Ajax and Predictions of J2ME’s Demise

Category: Editorial, Mobile

With more on the mobile Ajax front, this new post on the Pathfinder Agile Ajax blog talks in reference to this Wireless Business & Technology article about Ajax threatening the Java ME in the wide world of mobile internet development.

Nokia is taking a hard look at Ajax for mobile platforms, according to this article. thought XHTML was part of the Ajax picture, but as we know from his previous articles on the subject, Ajit means ‘webapps with postbacks’ when he says ‘XHTML.’ Part of his reasoning is that both XHTML and J2ME break several of the Web 2.0 ‘principles’ set forth by Tim O’Reilly. I think we can agree that XHTML apps that use Ajax are better than ones that don’t for bandwidth constrained mobile devices.

He also mentions four things that mobile Ajax applications will need to follow to really make enough of a difference to knock J2ME out of the top spot, including functionality that’s just as good just smaller, and to easily support anything and everything when it comes to phones, PDAs, PIMs, etc.

Honestly, I think Ajax is set on a good path to push these sorts of applications down and out – it’s lightweight, it’s powerful, there’s well-developed frameworks and toolkits out there for it – all it needs is some serious support. If Nokia decides to make the shift, it could be just what Ajax needs.

Posted by Chris Cornutt at 8:19 am
6 Comments

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people keep forgetting that AJAX is a design pattern for the View – J2ME is a language that provides data processing, I/O, and View.

AJAX is a small tool – nothing more. Instead of people hyping ajax, why not spend that energy putting it to better use – or perhaps doing some constructive?

Comment by krazykarl — August 11, 2006

But wouldn’t an ajax solution always require a network connection? At least a J2ME app could degrade gracefully or be completely standalone, which would be a strength over ajax, both in terms of cost (Vodafone charge 7.50 GBP/MB – which makes online apps offputting) and reliabilty (the mobile phone network isn’t everywhere – I’m out of coverage for a good 40 minutes a day on my commute to and from work)

Comment by Scot — August 11, 2006

Chris,
are there “well-developed frameworks and toolkits” out there for mobile apps as well? If so, I’d much appreciate a link.
thanks
Michael

Comment by Michael — August 13, 2006

I think that it will be a better idea to define a new JSR for J2ME. It will specify the ajax components with http/s connections. There may be a debate that network bandwidth will be an issue with j2ME + ajax environment , but i feel that this bottelneck will also be not an issue with 3G networks. Also AJAX works mainly as transporter, not a processing engine. For processing it need javascript, so java can be used in stead of javascript and and http can be used as transporter.

Comment by krishan — August 17, 2006

I think that it will be a better idea to define a new JSR for J2ME. It will specify the ajax components with http/s connections. There may be a debate that network bandwidth will be an issue with j2ME + ajax environment , but i feel that this bottelneck will also be not an issue with 3G networks. Also AJAX works mainly as transporter, not a processing engine. For processing it need javascript, so java can be used in stead of javascript and and http can be used as transporter.

Comment by krish — August 17, 2006

J2ME does suck. Most phones support old standards, that probably should never have been standardized because they were too limited for practical use. And even that support is buggy. Where were the reference implementations/apps and test suites? It’s too bad phone companies don’t upgrade JVMs or allow users to run their own.

Seems new mobile-related JSR’s are churned out weekly but the typical person’s handset doesn’t and won’t support important features for a while.

Having said all that, Java ME (Sun’s latest spelling) is all we have right now. And it can make some highly usable and useful apps — have you used the Java ME version of Google Maps?

Javascript and its ability to make URL requests and build a display is good. But it needs full access to the phone interface — all keypad events, easy menus and commands. Usability really matters on small, portable devices. It also needs a caching layer, to support offline and near-offline use.

Final rants: I’m sick of hearing how the next radio technology will bring broadband speed to mobiles. How many “G”s do we need before we get the speed and latency of at least dialup? And why do people accept mobile phone companies charging such high prices for transferring bits? Seems like mobile telcos would prefer that over voice, since it doesn’t require strictly real-time service.

Conclusion: We all have these relatively powerful, networked, little computers in our pockets, we should be getting more out of them and having full control of what they do. JavaME, AJAX, Flash-lite, whatever — as long as it is free, usable across mobile devices, and built on open standards, I’ll be happy.

Whew, thanks for listening.

Comment by blackwatchplaid — September 15, 2006

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