Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Top 8 Ajax evaluation criteria

Category: Ajax, Editorial

As companies and individuals (this means you) continue to sort out just what the big deal about Ajax is and how it can help them, they need to also look at some of the things they need to consider about its implementation into their site. Thankfully, FrontForge has created a basic list to help you get started.


It seems that many organizations are evaluating Ajax these days but we fear that some are applying the wrong selection criteria. This article presents our top 8 features to include in your Ajax evaluation, and explains what they are and why you would want them. These are features that next-generation Ajax frameworks support, but that the older generation either do not support or cannot support without major effort.

The list is:

  • Back button, history, and bookmarks
  • beyond widgets: standard and custom behaviors
  • single-page interface
  • productivity and maintainability
  • client-server
  • XPath targeting
  • comprehensive event model
  • state and the observer pattern

For each of the items, they provide a little background and detail on what about the topic needs to be considered. They include a few graphics here and there (worth 1k words, and all) and provide a great overall look at the serious considerations developers need to make before implementing Ajax in their application.

Posted by Chris Cornutt at 8:01 am
9 Comments

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3.4 rating from 85 votes

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Nice article that makes some good points. However, I can’t help feeling that this is a veiled press release from Backbase. Several times they mention that the only toolkit available that supports their list of feature is Backbase and their website is ‘Powered by Backbase”. Their statement that dojo, rico et al don’t meet most (my emphasis) of the list’s features is wrong – dojo certainly does (missing only xpath). I also have issues with the list itself; glaring omissions could include a build and package system to make downloading the Ajax ‘Client’ a quick a painless experience, or good IDE support and documentation in which case Backbase’s direct competitor Tibco GI is far ahead of EVERYONE else.

Comment by andy — September 21, 2006

Hmmm, if it is a veiled press release, they might want to avoid the following:

The Backbase Presentation Client could not load the core file (bpc_0x.js). Please verify the following:

The core file exists in the same folder as the boot.js file.
The web server has the appropriate permissions and settings to execute the core file.

Comment by ron — September 21, 2006

This list is interesting, but there are not all points I expect from good AJAX web.

– to work without javascript, usable with stupid browser (lynx, elinks, simple cell phone browser), only these “cool features” not working. Sure, I don’t excepts maps.google.com to work inside lynx, but basic page like “http://www.frontforge.com/#art1002” should work!
– to be findable by search engines
– to work with every browser
– to be able to open any link to new window with shift-click (or new tab)

So, let’s try their page in opera… not working. in lynx…not working. in links…not working. try to send search engine there….not working. try with firefox and javascript off….not working. try to shift-click any link…not working. try to open link to new tab.. not working

And I have to ask: Is it still World Wide Web, or is it some unusable crap?

Comment by Martin HruÅ¡ka — September 21, 2006

[…] Thanks to Ajaxian for pointer to this list. In the interests of disclosure, note that I am writing a book, Adding Ajax, whereby I demonstrate that any web application developer familiar with basic JavaScript can add Ajax benefits and effects to their existing web applications. As such, I’ve violated the premise behind #4 by assuming that just anyone can become an ‘Ajax’ developer. […]

Pingback by Just Shelley » Ajax Myth Busting — September 21, 2006

“There is no excuse for breaking a contract with about a billion web users.”

Ok, the back button’s not broken, but “open in new tab/window” is broken for all of their internal links. Perhaps doesn’t affect a billion web users, maybe only a few million or so…

Now have to clear lots of javascript:void(0); out of my background tabs.

Comment by day — September 21, 2006

It’s interesting.

The irony is that the first point should be: stay compatible with non-javascript browsers (for accessibility and so on).
The authors clearly forgot that for their own site as it’s impossible to access the article without activating javascript ;)
some url rewrite rules that were lost in the process probably :D

Comment by mortimer — September 21, 2006

I agree that this seems like a thinly disguised backbase talking point. To say that Dojo does not have an adequate event model or extensible widget/ behavior system is just ridiculous. I do agree with the idea of XPath integration though, however the headaches of forcing an XPath implementation through script seem like a large obstacle to overcome.

Comment by Sean — September 21, 2006

Some feedback from Backbase: the top-8 was created by FrontForge, a consulting partner of Backbase, independent from Backbase itself. We merely pointed to the article from our weblog, because we do believe that the Backbase AJAX software meets the criteria. And yes, some of the criteria are unique to Backbase, but that doesn’t make them less valid.
To Andy: I agree there are many more criteria, but I feel that Backbase certainly is not behind on Tibco regarding documentation and with the IDE we are taking a standards-based approach, integrating with Eclipse and BEA Workshop (see screenshot).

Comment by Jep Castelein - Backbase — September 22, 2006

I think I need to make a blog, I wanna post my heart out.

Comment by mrskin — October 2, 2006

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