Friday, August 4th, 2006

What’s So Special About Ajax?

Category: Ajax, Interview

On the Ajax Developers Journal today, there’s a great new article posted collecting some mini-interviews they did with industry leaders asking “What’s so special about Ajax?”

Now that the web is well on its way to becoming more responsive, smoother and reliable – and correspondingly more enjoyable to work with – SYS-CON Media’s AJAXWorld Magazine stops up and tries to “freeze-frame” the moment. We take a look at the question that is presently on the mind of hundreds and thousands of software developers, architects, IT managers, and CXOs alike: “What’s So Special About AJAX?”

The list includes:

  • Coach Wei – RIA pioneer, Founder & CTO, Nexaweb
  • Dave Crane – Author of Ajax in Action
  • Bill Scott – AJAXWorld Conference speaker, Co-Founder of Rico; AJAX Evangelist for Yahoo!
  • Eric Pascarello – Author, “Real-World AJAX” One-Day Seminar speaker

The opinions ranged anywhere from the excitement of the potential Ajax has to change the web to unifying the “previously fragmented efforts” surrounding the development of web applications.

Posted by Chris Cornutt at 8:05 am

3.8 rating from 29 votes


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A good question. What is so great about Ajax? It’s a snazzy little exploitation of technologies out there that does wonders for responsive widgets, for things like file uploads and instant spell-check, but far too many people make the mistake of using it for entire web apps. How is it possible that sometimes simple “slide” effects and animations still stutter on modern machines? Yes, it may simply be poor code on the part of the developer, but I think that more robust frameworks like Flex have the potential to harness modern hardware (think how cool it’d be to have a web framework harness video cards, etc.).

Too many people now are considering Ajax the core of the “Web 2.0 revolution”. Yes, it’s useful, yes it’s impressive, but keep a sense of reality when using it.

Comment by Michael — August 4, 2006

“think how cool it’d be to have a web framework harness video cards, etc”
Honestly? not that cool. Granted this is only my opinion but I think that is not the direction to take the web. The great thing about the web is that the web browser actually gives us a form of stabillity across platforms. Forget Java, the web is the run on any platform solution (to an extent). The main reason for this is the browser application is bridging the gap from the OS, it eliminates the problems of, for instance the interface to the video card and gives us a standard enviroment to work in. Every major platform out there has a stable browser and most now are adequately supporting JavaScript. With the explosion of “Ajax” development we are witnessing a focusing and standarisation of this space even more. For an interesting take on this subject, read Alex Russel’s (of Dojo) recent take on the subject of using Ajax as a solution for the mobile web. I feel that we need to think of our “seperation” from the OS as a huge advantage, one to exploit, not race to eliminate.

Also, this part of the equation aint so bad either:
“5 – Ajax is allowing people to get paid to code in JavaScript. Would you ever have guessed that?”

Comment by Sean — August 4, 2006

I agree with Sean, using a video card as part of a web application isn’t all that cool. The thing that makes Ajax so special is that a whole group of people realized they could progress the web substantial further with the resources that were already available to them. Unlike times in the past when people said in order to use this great new website you need to download the latest JVM or Flash runtime, Ajax applications just work. Flex 2.0 for example requires Flash 9.0 will Flex x.x require Flash > 9.0, this need to update to the latest to get some new feature that was more than likely only a benefit to the developer impedes adoption.

Comment by Bob — August 4, 2006

Michael, what do you think you know about Ajax? Or about creativity for that matter. Where are you “I-know-it-all” guys going with such arguments? We are not living in a totalitarian world described in 1984…you do not have the right to tell, unlike yourselves, creative and innovative people what to do and what not to.

If you want to discuss words, you’ll have to learn the alphabet first…

If you want to discuss words, you’ll have to learn read first…

If you want to write a book about something, then know what you are talking about…Eric Pascarello

Comment by Ned B — August 5, 2006

Hey Ned,

Will you stop busting on me and other people around here.
What do I know about Ajax? Well I program it for a living. I do consutling work for major companies. I wrote the best selling book on Ajax with Dave Crane. I have done over 40 talks at user groups around the country and pretty soon the world since October. I wrote another book on JavaScript that you probably never looked up.

If you are great, than get on the user groups at every major forum and google groups and answer questions like I do for free.

Can I ask who in the world that makes you an expert to call out everyone here? Please come to one of my talks so I can shake one of the most annoying posters hands here on Ajaxian. I think you have a little ego problem and should look at what you are really saying in all of your posts. If you do not have anything positive to add to te word of Ajax, than do not post a comment.

Eric Pascarello

Comment by Eric Pascarello — August 5, 2006

Ned: Eric and his book have demonstrated his knowledge in Javascript and Ajax, not to mention his blog and contributions on forums. I’ve also seen him speak at conferences, and he knows what he is talking about.

What have you done to help the community? Do you have any to offer besides trolling?

- Rob

Comment by Rob Sanheim — August 5, 2006

[garbage snipped]

Ned: You are wasting our time and our reader’s time with your personal attacks. Maybe you should actually read _Ajax in Action_ or construct some decent arguements if you are going to try to attack Eric.

Comment deleted.

– Rob Sanheim

Comment by Ned B — August 6, 2006

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