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Ajax Is the Buzz of Silicon Valley 336

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the follow-the-buzz-to-the-honey dept.
Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "Ajax, or 'Asynchronous JavaScript and XML,' is allowing webpages to update as quickly as desktop software, powering applications like Google Maps and attracting money from Silicon Valley investors, including for a collaboration-software company called Zimbra. The Wall Street Journal reports: 'Zimbra's chief executive, Satish Dhamaraj, says that when he started his company in December 2003, "I really thought that Ajax was just a bathroom cleaner." Now his San Mateo, Calif., business has amassed $16 million in funding from venture-capital firms including Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Benchmark Capital, the firm that famously funded eBay Inc. Peter Fenton, an Accel partner, says Ajax "has the chance to change the face of how we look at Web applications" and could boost technology spending by corporations, because Ajax is also being used to develop software for big companies, not just for consumers.'"
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Ajax Is the Buzz of Silicon Valley

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:03PM (#13945339)
    No, Ajax is also an excuse for ad placement.
  • So, nitpicking... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:03PM (#13945349) Journal
    Shouldn't it be AJAX, not Ajax? Ajax is the Greek warrior.
    • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phalse phace (454635) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:08PM (#13945394)
      "Ajax is the Greek warrior"

      Hmm... That's pretty interesting [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:2, Informative)

      by kritikal (247499)
      I can't remember the original source that mentioned something like this, but the author of the piece was arguing that to refer to it as "AJAX" you are only referring to things that involved Asynchronous Javascript and XML. With most of the tasks that I've found a use for "AJAX" I've never used XML. Rather, we should just be referring to the general sense of using either XMLHttpRequest/Iframes as "Ajax" to keep things simple for consumers.
      • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:4, Informative)

        by LDoggg_ (659725) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:58PM (#13945836) Homepage
        I've never used XML. Rather, we should just be referring to the general sense of using either XMLHttpRequest/Iframes as "Ajax" to keep things simple for consumers.

        IFrames are not required for AJAX.

        All you need to do is have an xmlhttprequest object called by whatever event you like, it can then take the response and then somehow (usally div tag) change the contents of a web page. That's it.
        The use of Iframes is 100% optional.

        • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:3, Informative)

          by ergo98 (9391)
          The use of Iframes is 100% optional.

          ? The parent poster was giving those two options as alternatives, not as a combination. e.g. if you can't use xmlhttprequest, then you use a hidden iframe to do the background transfers.
      • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ergo98 (9391)
        With most of the tasks that I've found a use for "AJAX" I've never used XML. Rather, we should just be referring to the general sense of using either XMLHttpRequest/Iframes as "Ajax" to keep things simple for consumers.

        Which is why the term is meaningless drivel [yafla.com].
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:34PM (#13945618)
      It should be DHTML. DHTML, goddammit! Dynamic HTML! Just call it a dynamic web page!

      "AJAX" is so irritating and non-descriptive. It should be clumped with other turds of terminology, like "blog," and ceremoniously flushed down the toilet bowl of language integrity to rid of us these awful, awful buzzwords that make people think they're suddenly technology masters. "OMG I'M USING AJAX D00D BECAUSE OF MY LITTLE SCRIPT TAG SNIPPET, LETS START AN AJAX COMPANY."

      No, why don't you shut the fuck up and get out of my Internet!

      Sorry...it's been a shitty day, and seeing the word "AJAX" on the front page of Slashdot yet again was the final straw. Rawr.
      • by pete6677 (681676) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:44PM (#13945697)
        I never thought DHTML was a very descriptive term either. Web pages can be made dynamic in several different ways. It seems like DHTML is usually used to describe JavaScript combined with CSS, but some people used it to describe server side stuff too. The problem with technical jargon is that it gets bastardized by marketing-speak.
        • Web pages can be made dynamic in several different ways.

          Which is why AJAX is so stupid. There's more to dynamic webpages than Javascript and XML.
          • If you include plugins, I guess dynamic web pages could be based on any of a HUGE number of technologies.

            Which is why the success of Ajax surprises me. Why is it taking off where Java applets attempted similar things 10 years ago with great hooplah, and never really caught on? Or is this talk of Ajax just hype?

            • by LDoggg_ (659725) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:16PM (#13946004) Homepage
              Why is it taking off where Java applets attempted similar things 10 years ago with great hooplah, and never really caught on?

              Simple.
              Its taking off because firefox can do it without any extra plugins.
              • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:4, Informative)

                by kin_korn_karn (466864) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:37PM (#13946174) Homepage
                and no system-killing JVM startup. That's what I hated about applets.
      • by Paradox (13555) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:04PM (#13945885) Homepage Journal
        It should be DHTML. DHTML, goddammit! Dynamic HTML! Just call it a dynamic web page!

        Look, I know some people are unhappy with the name Ajax. I understand that. I am not a huge fan of the word as used, myself.

        But we need to get over it. That's the name we're using. There is no other word for it now. We can rant and rave all we want about how it should be called DHTML or DXHTML, or Dynamic Web Pages, or whatever. Truth be told, the word we use is almost entirely irrelevant so long as we are on the same page as everyone else.

        In any case, we did need a need a new word. DHTML has been used for a long time, and describes such a huge variety of techniques that it's not terribly useful when we want to talk about the use of XMLHttpRequest usage and the recent movement towards more complex Javascript effects that abandon the dark-age IE5.5 and other early browsers.

        Ajax is as good a word as any, and it's better that web developers have an identifiable term for that kind of tech, so that customers can refer to that general level of interactivity easily. Even if you don't use the exact "AJAX" model as described, when someone says "Ajax" we all know that we think about Prototype, Dojo, Google Maps and other apps along that vein.

        Seriously, if you have enough spare energy to rant and rave about the terminology used in the web hype, then you need to find a better outlet for your energy.

        • It's not like it takes 80% of my body's energy to type a post on Slashdot decrying the term "AJAX."

          Dynamic web pages were just as good a term, and the big thing is that the term existed before AJAX. Then some clueless tech press bought a buzzword and spread AJAX, so that managers could make money off it.

          It's like "Web 2.0." I mean, seriously, what is that? It's the same Web as before. "Oh, but now it's CSS presentation using Javascript to dynamically modify the DOM to provide an instant user interface."
          • The point is that this is not new, but based on hype from Gmail it's been rebranded to appear as new, and people are buying into it.

            Exactly how is this a bad thing? So what if it was given a goofy name? The XMLHTTPRequest is extremely useful and its an open standard. It fills in where people were previously using proprietary technologies.
          • Dynamic web pages were just as good a term, and the big thing is that the term existed before AJAX. Then some clueless tech press bought a buzzword and spread AJAX, so that managers could make money off it.

            Actually, Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path coined the term [adaptivepath.com]. Say what you will about Adaptive Path and their self-important website, but clueless they are not.

            I don't particularly care how or why the term came into existence, to be honest. What I do care about is meeting my customer's needs. Lik

            • Actually, Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path coined the term. Say what you will about Adaptive Path and their self-important website, but clueless they are not.

              Yes, I'm aware of that, and it proves my point. Some website invented a term for technologies that already existed, under different terminology, and the tech media adopted it to have a buzzword.

              Same with "Web 2.0." It's ridiculous.

              DHTML may be more literal, but I fail to see where you get it as more or less descriptive.

              Well, for one, DHTML doesn'
    • Re:So, nitpicking... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tantrum420 (312608)
      > Ajax is the Greek warrior.

      No way... Ajax is the mountain that I look at out my office window everyday...

      http://www.firsttracksonline.com/aspen02.jpg [firsttracksonline.com]

      It's starting to look good, BTW. In case anybody cares.

      T

  • by frostman (302143) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:04PM (#13945359) Homepage Journal
    Web Two Point Oh [andrewwooldridge.com]

    Get your AJAX-enabled startup right there!
  • JIT (Score:5, Funny)

    by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte@Nospam.drunksnipers.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:06PM (#13945373) Homepage
    It has been almost a week without an AJAX story on the frontpage, it almost became something only old people in Korea use.
  • Then AJAX will become obsolete.

    But then again, it may take a while :(
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:09PM (#13945406)
    Seriously you build upon the failures that DHTML, HTML, Javascript, XML, XMLHTTRequest and you form a system which requires at least a 1 ghz processor just run a very simple GUI.

    There is nothing special about this other than the incredible amount of sheer dependencies that exist. You cross browser incompatibilities you have inexact everything. This is not a good solution people.

    This is also a good example of how bad Java and Sun has failed. If Sun would've opened up Java, let people distribute it, as well as from day 1 enabled easy RMI over HTTP we wouldn't be up to our necks in a horrible mixture of presentation logic and business logic.

    So here we are, requiring gargantuan browser which are brought to a halt with this AJAX technology when we had many other technologies which did so much better but failed for various other reasons.

    JUST BECAUSE AJAX NOW FINALLY WORKS DOESN'T MEAN IT IS A GOOD SOLUTION.
    • by joelsanda (619660) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:49PM (#13945747) Homepage

      Seriously you build upon the failures that DHTML, HTML, Javascript, XML, XMLHTTRequest and you form a system which requires at least a 1 ghz processor just run a very simple GUI.

      AJAX-enabled applications like Google Maps and GMail run fine on my G3 iBook with Safari and OS X 10.4. I don't think they necessarily have to have additional processor requirements on the client side.

      Saying DHTML, HTML, Javascript, XML, and XMLHTTRequest are all failures is a little extreme. Saying each fails at being everything is 100% correct and 200% redundant - nothing is everything. I applaud the use of XML and Javascript to place more processing on the client side. It's not without its problems, but then nothing is everything.

      This is also a good example of how bad Java and Sun has failed. If Sun would've opened up Java, let people distribute it, as well as from day 1 enabled easy RMI over HTTP we wouldn't be up to our necks in a horrible mixture of presentation logic and business logic.

      I agree with this - this was Sun's sweetspot about 10 years ago, wasn't it? Client's connecting to applications so our experience was built upon thin clients instead of desktop applications.

      So here we are, requiring gargantuan browser which are brought to a halt with this AJAX technology when we had many other technologies which did so much better but failed for various other reasons.

      Again - this is just not true, at least in my experience. If my 800 mhz iBook with OS 10.4 and Safari can run Gmail as fast as Mail.app then I'm sold on the usability of quality engineered AJAX-enabled applications.

      • I disagree. Ajax "works", but its FAR from being a decent solution, like the top poster said.

        With Ajax, you're basically using 100% of what a web browser can do. Ajax is too crappy. html + css + javascript + xmlhttprequest + .... Too many complexity to build a FUCKING GUI (god damn, just thing about that horrid javascript language, why it was added as a "patch" on top of html instead of redefining html and doing it right). And it can't scale. Ajax is the maximum you can get from today's technology, and it's
    • Seriously you build upon the failures that DHTML, HTML, Javascript, XML, XMLHTTRequest and you form a system which requires at least a 1 ghz processor just run a very simple GUI.

      Ummmm.... I have a 1Ghz processor. Most people have 1Ghz processors. If most people couldn't run these GUI's they wouldn't exist because it would be worth the time to futz with them. The fact of the matter is that most people have way more processing power on their desks than they really need. Unless you do lots of video transc
    • by KidSock (150684) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:28PM (#13946544)
      Exactly! Counldn't have said it better myself. As someone who works with network protocols a lot HTTP is a BAD protocol. It was fine back in 1993 when we had simple static pages with some text a few links. But for real applications with tables and list controls the stateless model is horrible. We need a cross platform application that provides sophisticated UIs that can be represented using a simple definition language but can hold state and only need to communicate with the server when the UI needs to load or store that state. I was hoping Java would effectively do this but it's UI is pathetically simple (AWT) or pathetically slow (Swing), it doesn't have very good control over the document and just getting the plugin to run in all browsers is a crap shoot.
      • Actually while I agree that HTTP is not the best protocol anyone could imagine it is several orders of magnitude better than some RPC (or RMI for those of you knowing nothing but Java) protocol exchanging actual function calls in a much less language-agnostic way. Implementing a basic HTTP client is a trivial task of a few hours in any modern programming language. This is the most important feature of the protocol one could imagine.
        • Actually I didn't make my point very well. HTTP alone isn't the problem. It still sucks but it's the poor data management between HTTP and the rendered UI that is the just rediculous.

          Think about what's happening in an AJAX application:

          Text defining the display (HTML) is downloaded (HTTP) within which a script is embedded (JavaScript) that requests more data be returned as but in a slightly different form of text (XML) that needs to be unmarshalled and interpreted in an application specific way to extract do
          • by Anonymous Coward
            It works and it is far easier than you suggest. Also, the code is VERY VERY small compared to any other type of language. In my case 200KB for everything HTML,JS,PHP (goes into mysql). Compare that to our 28MB of vb src.

            I'm just finishing deployment of a web based app that does some complex data rule enforcement and rating calculation server side, the gui is client side, the server handles logic and stores the application. By designing your apps the correct way, you minimize data transition, data changes up
    • by dasil003 (907363) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:30PM (#13946568) Homepage
      I gotta hand it to you for a brilliant troll. You pass this off as some kind of revelation about AJAX, when in fact this is the truth about every technology. There was always a better technology that never caught on (or never made it past the drawing board) for any given need. There are also always cynics who criticize anything popular by pointing out its flaws. Of course any alternate technology also has its flaws, but they aren't as easy to point out because no one uses it.

      Seriously you build upon the failures DHTML, HTML, Javascript, XML, XMLHTTRequest and you form a system which requires at least a 1 ghz processor just run a very simple GUI.


      First of all HTML, JavaScript and XML are not failures. They may not be ideal for whatever it is you think they should be doing, but as technologies they are incredibly successful. Secondly, AJAX requiring a 1 ghz processor is complete bullshit. I use google maps on my 400mhz G4 all the time, and I'll tell you that the operating system slowness itself is more of a source of frustration than javascript.

      There is nothing special about this other than the incredible amount of sheer dependencies that exist. You cross browser incompatibilities you have inexact everything. This is not a good solution people.


      Oh wait, except if you use a decent toolkit you can write AJAX apps that work in 99.99% of new computers running any operating system, right out of the box. Shit, I guess we better go write some Java Applets or DirectX because AJAX is so horrible.

      This is also a good example of how bad Java and Sun has failed. If Sun would've opened up Java, let people distribute it, as well as from day 1 enabled easy RMI over HTTP we wouldn't be up to our necks in a horrible mixture of presentation logic and business logic.


      Okay, that's just outta left field. There's a huge market in between monolithic business applications and pure content documents. Using something like Java to do lightweight web development might satisfy your pedantic idea of proper coding practices, but it wouldn't make anybody more productive. Not to mention assuming that a specific language would somehow make people better software engineers.

      So here we are, requiring gargantuan browser which are brought to a halt with this AJAX technology when we had many other technologies which did so much better but failed for various other reasons.


      Oh boohoo! You didn't perchance work on one of these superior technologies did you?

      JUST BECAUSE AJAX NOW FINALLY WORKS DOESN'T MEAN IT IS A GOOD SOLUTION.


      Well it makes it a good solution if you want to:

      • Get something done
      • Satisfy bosses/clients
      • Make something available on any computer with an Internet connection
      • Distribute it to the masses


      Unfortunately it doesn't do anything to:

      • Satisfy idealistic software theorists who never actually created a popular website
    • I couldn't agree more. People frequently lose perspective of the fact that AJAX is just one option, and IMHO not even close to the best.

      I've been doing all my recent development in OpenLaszlo [openlaszlo.org] and honestly, I have never seen any UI technology that can compare. And I'm doing more than just playing with it, I'm developing a full blown enterprise app with it at work.

      For those who are looking for really impressive web based UI technology, I can't recommend it enough.

      Here are some of the strong points:
      -ope
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pestilence669 (823950) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:09PM (#13945407)
    I've been doing AJAX for three years... before that we called it "remote scripting."

    This is nothing new. Calling AJAX "new" is like calling email "new", when it's over 25 years old... AJAX-like techniques being about eight years old.

    I'd have written more cool "AJAX" interfaces if only my damn managers knew what in the hell I was talking about back then.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:23PM (#13945527) Homepage
      Same here. I've had "ajax" apps out there since 2001. Almost all sites I work on I put that in. I also almost always either return an xhtml fragment and do the innerHTML dance or use js xmlrpc to connect to the server's api and use js to update the ui. But it's a kludge, really.

      I use it as little as possible, and only when I absoluly have no other choice.

      I never tell the managers I use this. They think using replacing nulls with zeros on integer fields is acceptable in a data warehouse environment. Eh, the hackish workaround I've had to implement!!!

      In any case, if you really want to go crazy, then build a light xmlrp server in python to act as a bridge, then py2exe it (if you so desire) and run it on the client. Then have a local html+js call it via localhost:someport and it will go out and get the data out on the intarweb. Presto. You've just eliminated the central server. Expose everything as a xmlrpc services, and have only a static web server, with ONE html file. Save to desktop, run, and get the full intarweb, with no cross-domain limit.

      And the python bridge can be custmized to do whatever (use Twisted? SOAP, encryption, whatever) and make it generic enough to be completely reuseable.

      Beyond Ajax!
    • Any technology that now uses XML is suddenly a breakthrough these days. Just think if somebody decides that SMTP isn't good enough anymore and builds an XML based transfer method!

      New and IMPROVED eMail! Now with XML Technology! It does everything email did before, but now with XML!
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Karma Farmer (595141)
      AJAX was invented by Microsoft in 1998 so they could write a decent Outlook web client. [technet.com]

      So technically, it's only 7 years old.

      (shhh... don't tell taco... his head will explode if he learned that Google didn't invent it)
  • OK, so I'll put 'AJAX', 'Ruby-on-Rails', and 'Web 2.0' in my business plan and I'm sure to win the jackpot!
  • Desktop.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by _flan (156875) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:12PM (#13945433)
    Desktop.com had this stuff in 1999, but unfortunately the browsers of the day (IE4 and Netscape 4) weren't really capable of staying up long enough to make it worthwhile. There was even a company that had a nice little web-based spreahsheet app.

    Still, I haven't seen a good, platform-independant, integrated sever- and client-side solution yet. Back at Desktop in was *all* client side except the actual persistence of objects so it wasn't really an issue.

    Ah, well.
    • Still, I haven't seen a good, platform-independent, integrated sever- and client-side solution yet.

      I worked for a startup called "State Software", which offered the "State Application Framework" back in 2000-2002 -- which did just that. Platform independent (on both the server AND client side), and relatively easy to use. It was basically a java back end, with a great browser-independent javascript client library.

      Long story short, 2002 was a very bad time to be a startup, and VC funding wasn't quite
  • by Mancat (831487) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:13PM (#13945441) Homepage
    Ajax has got to be the biggest buzzword of the year. Thank god nobody has figured out how to use Ajax to enable the community and synergize their collaborative efforts towards successification.
    • Well done that man! I thought the term "AJAX" was bad enough but you had to go one better my using your joker: "synergize".

      You have a wonderful career in hell ahead of you :)
    • Thank god nobody has figured out how to use Ajax to enable the community and synergize their collaborative efforts towards successification.

      I must question the truthiness of that statement.
  • It's gmail... right? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ParadoxDruid (602583) * on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:14PM (#13945443) Homepage

    I'm watching the flash-based Zimbra demo right now, and they're bragging about innovations like "conversation view" and "tags" on messages. Which gmail has had for a long time. Yes, I know gmail is essentialy AJAX, but this is the demo for the Zimbra collaboration suite.

    Why would anyone think Zimbra was innovative based on this demo?

  • by Bogtha (906264)

    when he started his company in December 2003, "I really thought that Ajax was just a bathroom cleaner."

    Well of course, the AJAX buzzword was made up in 2005. Back in 2003, everybody called it remote scripting, DHTML or XMLHttpRequest.

  • by WombatControl (74685) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:15PM (#13945458)

    AJAX is just buzz. Yes, it's a great tool for making better use of the web. Yes, it's relatively simple. Yes, it's flashy.

    But it's still just a tool - and it can be used for good (see any of 37signal's apps) or evil (sites that use AJAX for navigation and break the back/forwards buttons). It won't make a badly designed web app better - in fact, incorrectly used, it can make things worse.

    The Web 2.0 is about more than just flashy technologies like AJAX: it's about open architectures, semantic code, separation of content, presentation, and now behavior, and better user experiences. AJAX can enable any of those, but it can also destroy any of those. In fact, it's probably made web designers lives harder: now designers need to be familiar with separating not only content from presentation, but behavior from content and presentation as well. That can be very tricky, and it's tempting just to slap on some onclick handlers to your links rather than using the DOM and separating behavior from content. Furthermore, it's very tempting to have AJAX-enabled sites to that don't gracefully degrade in browsers without JavaScript - which defeats the point of the accessible web.

    AJAX is a great technique, but it's not a panacea, and it's not a replacement for sound design and UI architecture.

    • Why does some old fart always have to complain about compatibility? If you're using a browser that doesn't do javascript, you're probably used to disappointment. And I can understand how that can make you bitter. But still.
    • Dear Web 2.0,

      Hi, is there a free patch for my current Web 1.0 to upgrade it to 2.0, and will my Web 1.0 sites continue to work in Web 2.0?

      Also, should I wait for the Web 2.1 patch before I make the switch? I usually avoid x.0 releases because I hear they're buggy.

      Thanks for the info on Web 2.0.

      Signed,
      Victim of buzzwords
    • Breaking navigation buttons with Ajax is not evil, navigation buttons were never meant for anything other than traversing a tree of static pages of data, which is not web 2.0. Everything in the dynamic web up to the point of asynchronous messaging was an attempt at simulating a normal event based UI through form-based round trips to the server. That sucked from a programming standpoint and broke actual accessibility too, but in a way that validated correctly against W3C HTML standards, so magically it was o
  • by MaceyHW (832021)
    All the hype seems to be around slick consumer apps, but as an employee at a law firm that just switched over to a third-party web-based app for handling all case documents and communications, I would dance for joy if the interface were updated to use Ajax. 10% of the time I spend using the system is lost waiting for a response to my clicks as I navigate around in the system. Everything goes through https, which is a good thing, but only makes the response time slower. Each pause is just long enough to
    • I'll second that. Over the years I've had to write a handful of small web tools to get things done around the office, and my biggest lament was always that data entry really and truly sucks with forms that have to submit and reload. Then I read about this ajax stuff a while back and retooled a few interfaces to use it instead. Now, my whites are whiter and my colors are brighter, I get better gas milage, my lawn is thicker and greener, and my golf game is better than ever.

      Actually, none of that other stu
  • by loconet (415875) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:17PM (#13945484) Homepage
    Whoa.. venture-capital firms investing in web related stuff? Have we fallen into a worm hole and are back in 1999/2000? I need to get myself some of that dotcom stock and sell it right after.

    Joking aside, isn't it interesting/sad that it takes a lot of hype backed up by a big name like Google for a old technology tricks to get serious attention from investors? "They are doing it, so it must be good" type of reasoning. Hopefully this bubble won't burst into flames because hype aside, doing what ajax does has been pretty useful and it would be a shame for 'ajax' to be associated with failure.
  • OMFG! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:21PM (#13945514)
    Ajax, or 'Asynchronous JavaScript and XML,' is allowing webpages to update as quickly as desktop software

    Wow, and with the XML you can make it automatically talk to any system!!!!
    e-Business has reached a new plateau! Synergy abounds! Am I e-dreaming or what! Woohoo!!
  • by amichalo (132545) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:22PM (#13945518)
    Though I'm reading /. I should be working on my AJAX app for medical billing. AJAX allows us to send the structure of a complex billing system to the client, then update the data at the speed of clientside Javascript. Even allows us to pull scanned medical images ina fraction of the time it used to take because we are only loading the image selected, not all the thumbnails and other wrapper data.

    But I don't get why Google Maps gets the credit for this. Microsoft (yuck!) developed this concept for web based Outlook years ago, and it has been implemented by many smaller developers since then.

    Perhaps all this press will get Javascript behaving between browsers and platforms. That is the worst part of AJAX coding!!!
    • Making it work across different browsers isn't easy indeed, but localizing of javascript isn't always an easy task either i.e. so it uses different languages (for things like form validation error messages or what not), and different data formats like phone numbers and postal/zip codes and such, depending on country or otherwise. Well, true enough, localizing apps can be a pain in general but the javascript part can be somewhat daunting (piecing together the javscript from multiple resource files server-si
  • IP? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TopSpin (753) * on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:23PM (#13945524) Journal
    This will be a case study in IP law. How many patents will appear covering each and every aspect of Ajax as developers reinvent techniques long since commonplace in pre-web software? I'm usually not pessimistic but given recent evidence (Blackberry, Eolas, etc) it's pretty clear that patenting trivial techniques, regardless of prior art, is effective.

    How will a new platform emerge when its components are owned by multiple licensors? The answer is obvious; Microsoft (or Google, Canopy, etc) will buy them all and own the whole enchilada. Don't count on any Open Source implementations escaping the IP lawyers this time around.

  • by wynterwynd (265580) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:23PM (#13945526)
    Soon to be met by stiff competition from

    Content Oriented Markup Elements: Traditional
     
      and

    Server Oriented Funneling Transmission
    Streaming Concurrent Rational Units Bidirectionally
     
  • WELCOME (Score:4, Funny)

    by zephc (225327) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:25PM (#13945543)
    WELCOME to Zimbra-com. This is... Zimbra-com!
  • If we split OpenOffice along its presentation/processing tiers, turning those APIs into XML/HTTP, we can have pools of OpenOffice servers accessed by AJAX clients. Let's see MS WebOffice compete with that.
    • Re:Pulling Tiers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ford Prefect (8777)
      If we split OpenOffice along its presentation/processing tiers, turning those APIs into XML/HTTP, we can have pools of OpenOffice servers accessed by AJAX clients. Let's see MS WebOffice compete with that.

      Please don't.

      So far, I haven't seen anyone manage a proper, pixel-perfect page layout or drawing program with AJAX - people seem to pee themselves with excitement [walterzorn.com] when they manage to get Javascript to draw basic lines and circles.

      I'd like to see someone implement, say, Google Earth (not Maps) in AJAX, or A
      • Er, we've already got a great (at least in the sense of "large") Web infrastructure with market buyin and lots of developers, which is totally cross-platform. Distributed X apps have none of that. If you haven't seen any good AJAX drawing programs yet, that means you should encourage people to develop one, not discourage it. Especially since encouraging X development for the same benefit is obviously a doomed adventure.

        Moreover, what does word processing and spreadsheets have to do with WYSIWYG paint progra
  • This shows you the power of a website and a buzzword. I think xmlHttpRequest has been around as an ActiveX object since IE 5. More recently Mozilla added native support. Hopefully the IE7 team has done the same thing. At any rate I've been using this technique for 5 or 6 years. When I first learned about it I thought WOW, this is really going to revolutionize the web! A web page can be a little client/server app, just sitting there handling requests all day. No need for any crapola to maintain session state
  • It's a design pattern, it's not even a new design pattern.
    If you're just figuring this out now, you haven't been around for long enough.
  • It's nice to see that the "rest of the world" is finally seeing the importance of moving to decent web based user interfaces. However, the concept of AJAX has been around for quite some time. I was using a technology called "Remote Scripting" back in the late 90's that allowed you to hit server side pages via a "proxy" java applet, and then update your page however you wanted with javascript. Granted, it was pretty ugly code, but it made for a heck of a UI. No more annoying "flickering" on the web page, a
  • But if only there were some way to implement an AJAX app without all that browser bloat, and possibly using a more concise language. I predict that the next big step will happen when someone makes it possible to simply retrieve their data from a remote data source without needing a web browser to make it happen. Now bear with me here because I know this is hard to believe, but perhaps a small language with only 20 or so reserved words could be created. Then some sort of standard library could be created for
  • Why all these cludges to make web pages appear like a terminal program? Why not just create a standard for Telnet/SSH clients displaying HTML? A link would be treated as a text string that would be sent to the host as a string... forms could be sent as a string of XML data... Build your SSH/Telnet client into the browser, and you are good to go!

    AJAX is nice concept, but such a cludge!
  • by mboedick (543717) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @05:53PM (#13945782)

    My complaint with Ajax is that it makes scripting the web much more difficult. I write scripts that grab content from the web and do things with it as well as scripts that post content to the web. I was trying to write one of these the other day for a site that used Ajax for the login form. If I still felt like it was worth writing, my script just became ten times more complex.

    How do you link to content that is behind or otherwise encrusted with Ajax? How do crawlers find it? Without Ajax, you can look at the source of a page and get a good idea of what it's doing. With Ajax, you basically have to reverse engineer it (for an example, go look at the Gmail code).

    The web should continue to stay one URL leads to one document which is a self-contained chunk of plain text containing everything you need to view its contents.

    Ajax breaks the transparency and simplicity of the web for no good reason. It offers only increased responsiveness, which unless you are on a modem or something is minimal and mostly imagined by the user.

    • except that (Score:5, Informative)

      by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m minus language> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:22PM (#13946060) Homepage Journal
      no one cares about what you care about

      i'm being serious here: 99.9999% of web users don't really care if your screen scraper program is harder to write now

      you are speaking from an idealistic point of view that doesn't really drive the web

      the web is all about, and i mean all about as in the first issue and last issue under consideration, end user experience

      everything else is trivial

      i'm not in any way joking or trying to be flippant

      if web users go "cool, you can drag the google map around, that's so much easier to use than mapquest" then every single thing you just said goes right out the window

      end users rule with an iron fist for all development efforts, period, end of story

      never forget that

      realism trumps idealism
      • Re:except that (Score:2, Interesting)

        by v3xt0r (799856)
        How will it improve user experience if the users cant find pages on your site, because search engines can't index them, because you jumped on the AJAX bandwagon, and abused the concept by implementing it ALL OVER the front-end of your web site.

        There is a time and a place to use AJAX. Some people do not understand. Oh well.

        I think you need to read this article to better understand the time and place to use AJAX... http://alexbosworth.backpackit.com/pub/67688 [backpackit.com]

        Good Luck!
      • Re:except that (Score:2, Interesting)

        by loom_weaver (527816)
        Actually users will care when they try and do google searches for information and can't find information because the crawlers are unable to properly link to dynamic document that hides behind a single URL. I'm kind of troubled how the web browser is becoming the universal application container. There are some things that stateless HTTP and browsers just aren't really designed to do i.e. dynamic applications. I work in this area so I to live with it but overall it feels like we're regressing.
    • by esme (17526) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:04PM (#13946390) Homepage
      The web should continue to stay one URL leads to one document

      you hit the nail on the head here -- one URL, one document. but web applications aren't documents. you could just as easily say that POST breaks bookmarks or something similar.

      in fact, most AJAX is used for stuff that shouldn't be crawled or scraped anyway. it would be much better if people published their APIs so you could just fetch the XML and process it directly, if there was a need to accommodate non-browser UAs.

      -esme

    • AJAX only breaks the web (data-access wise) because most of the time it is being used for interactive pages, and providing pure data is an afterthought (e.g. how often does one read their e-mail with headers and all).

      When you simply need to pull data, AJAX, and more specifically the "X" in it, means that most of the data presented is available in XML form. You'll find that most AJAX scripts still require server side handlers/interfaces written in PHP/ASP/etc. which return "text/xml". It would be very easy f
    • I think needing a page to be indexed by search engines should be a clear indication of when not to use AJAX. Applications like web mail, checkout processes and interactive maps don't need to be indexed, and they're significantly more usable if you can avoid refreshing the browser every time something changes.

      IMHO best practice should be to keep the static content of these apps (eg. help screens, terms and conditions, privacy policies etc) as regular, indexable HTML whilst using AJAX where the user experie

    • by bahwi (43111)
      Make a usable interface on the front end, and have a nice listing of links on the bottom that points to a valid web page with the information that the Ajax pulls out. Simple. Done. And now users have a much better UI for your site, and robots can still crawl it.

  • Hello, Zimbra? Yeah, 1999 called and it wants its hype back.

    Okay, that wasn't funny, but this feels like someone just reversed the polarity on the main deflector dish and I got beamed back into the pre-dot bomb days. They've raised a bunch of VC money, they're buzzword compliant, they're going to "change the face" of something...come on.

    Though they do seem to have a product, so perhaps I'm being too harsh.
  • Obviously the VC's haven't talked to the Colgate Palmolive lawyers?

    Anyway, what I see is that AJAX will allow me to push all of the controller (MVC) logic onto the server. And I can hide script logic as needed (though can be done with jsp's or servlets/JSF). Aside from making remote scripting easier (i.e. don't need to rewrite functions), it will allow me to write code that looks more procedural and manageable than straight HTML. So it's another tool to add to the arsenal--hence the article sounds like mo

  • And Silicon Valley venture capitalists -- flush with cash and anxious to fund the next big thing -- are putting money into the start-ups.
    Has a familiar ring to it.
  • paraphrasing most every other other commentator below:

    1. ajax the functionality has been around for 6 years or more
    2. the buzzword "ajax" and the google maps implementation that skyrocketed the word to buzzword status has only been around for less than a year

    i'm usually not one to champion geek snobbery. but when geek snobbery is pitted against cattle herds of phbs spouting buzzwords with little understanding of the buzzword itself, geek snobbery is more appealing

    folks: use ajax, it really is The Next Big T
  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:36PM (#13946165)
    I just skimmed through most of the irate postings to this thread and can't help but shake my head... seriously, I'm not being facitious. When are geeks going to learn that it is 'hype' that is partly responsible for a healthy chunk of a company's profit margins. Hype is also what drove the dotcom gold rush, but the reasons for the final bursting of the bubble in 2000/2001 are a lot more complicated (read some of Paul Graham's musings [paulgraham.com] on the subject matter) and should not be simply attributed to 'irrational exuberance.'
    The same people lamenting about this 'undeserved' hype are the first ones complaining that we're all being outsourced and that it's almost impossible to raise funding for an IT startup these days. So, here's a company that somehow coaxed a VC out of $16 Million (which in turn will create jobs for people like YOU!) and you're bitching and moaning acrimoniously about how you guys did that 4 years ago. If you are really sooooo smart, then go out there and grab a piece of the action! VCs are sitting on huge portfolio funds right now and have no clue what to do with them (well, almost ;-) - no wonder we're all getting outsourced, we're simply too clever for our own good! I personally prefer to lose a few IQ points for a mansion on a lake, a bitch red Ferrari, and some more digits in my bank account...
  • I think it's funny there's so many people here upset at the attention AJAX has been getting. I have to assume these are traditional Java (not Jscript) programmers who are once again upset that other technology has upstaged the hype that Java carried around with it that never materialized.

    However, unlike Java, AJAX has immediate and obvious value to net-based applications. Java never had a niche where it could show off what it was uniquely good at. So unlike the Java hype, AJAX really does something bette

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