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The AJAX revolution is over
Friday, August 05, 2005

From a recent Wired Magazine's article You Say You Want a Web Revolution:
    Software experts [There are experts about everything now a days] say recent innovations in web design are ushering in a new era for internet-based software applications, some of the best of which already rival desktop applications in power and efficiency. That's giving software developers a wide open platform for creating new programs that have no relation to the underlying operating system that runs a PC.
I've heard the same idea repeated countless of times before - The paragraph could refer to anything really: HTML, JavaScript, DHTML, Flash, etc., etc. - "Experts" said the same thing about them when they were new and "revolutionary."

The AJAX revolution is probably not over. Perhaps it hasn't even started yet, but you and I know that once the main stream technical media starts blabbering about X or Y technology as being the new revolution, things are already slowing down for X or Y technology.

I think it's the "hot stock" effect: when the average Joe hears that a certain stock is hot, it isn't any longer and if this Joe is dumb enough to invest, he may as well just burn the money in his backyard - It will give him more amusement than watching the stock chart go down and down and down - BTW, don't burn money in the backyard; It is ilegal to destroy paper money; Physical money belongs to your respective government, actually.

One of the main challenges with adopting AJAX for web application engineering is the complexity added in the client side.

Web application clients (I.e. Browsers) should be dumb with no business logic embedded into them. Of course by following this mantra you end up dealing with all the limitation of current HTML and browser technology.

AJAX kind of removes some of the limitation and allows you to do cool, if not useless, tricks at the price of coupling your not so dumb client with business logic (A big "no-no" if you recall your Software Engineering classes.)

The key is balance and proper WUI (Web User Interface) design.

I'm guessing this AJAX revolution will be similar to the blog revolution: a great tool, but then again, who wants to keep reading stale and boring blogs - like this one :) all over the internet.

Let's hope it doesn't become what "Flash" was for the late 1990s. I.e. Once Flash was discovered, everything needed to be in Flash to exploit every useless fading effect in the book.

Moderation is key with new revolutions.

8:11 AM | 4 comment(s) |


How is it that the client is coupled with business logic? I must have missed something..
By Anonymous kasia, at 10:20 AM

When you said web applications should be dumb ... etc, did you mean web clients? I assume so.
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 AM

Kasia, I think the point is that the client code (JavaScript) may contain awareness of some business logic when it "unpacks" the XML return from the server (if the XML is rich in structure). I guess you could hide some of this by applying an XSL to the XML for formatting - but then the implicit business logic resides in the XSL stylesheet rather than JavaScript. In either case the client application has to be aware of the structure of the XML.

Or I could have got the wrong end of the stick - in which case ignore me :o)
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:09 AM

Anonymous 1, yes I do mean the web application clients - I fixed the ackward sentence.

Anonymous 2 and Kasia, that was what I meant.

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