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Another Belated Microsoft Memo 232

fiannaFailMan writes "Bill Gates has sent out another memo heralding the latest big development in the industry, as he sees it. This time it's web-based software using technology such as AJAX (that MS 'invented but failed to exploit'). The Economist says 'As in previous cases, what is new is not the idea itself, but the fact that Microsoft is taking it seriously.' Zach Nelson of NetSuite decided against writing a memo. 'Writing memos is cheap,' he says, whereas 'writing software is a whole lot harder.'"
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Another Belated Microsoft Memo

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  • Memo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Donut2099 ( 153459 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:28PM (#14067857) Journal
    Note to self: learn to write software
    • Re:Memo (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:55PM (#14068004)
      > Note to self: learn to write software

      Addendum: Make sure someone fucking buries the next NetSuite and fucking kills the next Zach Nelson before the lunch with Ballmer. Buy stronger chairs, too.

      • Note to above poster: decaf is apparently bad for you, but a bit LESS caffeine may be a good thing. Have a good weekend. :)
      • Re:Memo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <.barbara.hudson. ...> on Friday November 18, 2005 @10:59PM (#14068428) Journal

        Writing memos is cheap,' he says, whereas 'writing software is a whole lot harder.'"

        It's not cheap - its easy. He's writing memos now because, like a LOT of people who used to code, he can't write software any more.

        This has happened to a lot of former coders - they hit a certain age, and they just can't see themselves writing code any more. They don't want to learn yet another language or 5. This doesn't happen to everyone (hey, I just pulled a 9-5 ... that's 9 AM to 5AM, and I'll be hitting the half-centry mark next year), but it does seem that a lot of coders are gone well before they hit 40.

        You could probably divide coders into 2 groups - those who code because they can, and those who code because they're curious. The ones who code because they can, eventually, they can't.

        But curiosity never stops. When you've been coding for 16 hours, and you figure you're all done, but it would be neat to "write a quick little program to write a program" (because programs that write programs are the happiest programs in the world), and you go and do it because you WANT to and you're curious as to how well its going to work out and you know you won't be able to sleep until you "scratch that itch" . . . if you're still doing that a couple of decades later, you aren't the memo-writing type.

        This phenomenum (people peaking in their 30s and then they drop out) isn't limited to just IT. Look at how many "management types" simply can no longer do the grunt work in their own problem domains. They've lost their edge. Sure, they make up for it with experience, in a lot of cases, but there's no replacement for a sharp edge AND experience.

        • Re:Memo (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gnuLNX ( 410742 )
          I have to agree with you. For me the itch usually wakes me up around 3 a.m. Something I just have to finish or try. I have been writing code since I was around 12 on an old commodore 64. I am 32 now. I took a few CS classes in college but I am mostly self taught. So to those considering a career in this field here are some worthless tidbits from my observations.

          If you find it laboring to read an algorithms book then you might want to find a different field.

          On the same note. If you don't understand al
  • Who owns it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:30PM (#14067865)
    So does Microsoft have a patent on AJAX? Can they leverage their parenting of the technology to stifle progress once again? Who owns AJAX?
    • When has Microsoft flexed their patent muscle to stifle progress? Could you post an example, or are you just anti-"micro$oft!!Lol"? You should note that their "anti-competitive practices" did not involve patents, and would be hailed in a truly free society.
      • Re:Who owns it? (Score:2, Informative)

        by msbsod ( 574856 )
        FAT []
        • That article says that MS could flex their patent muscle.

          It is NOT an example of a time that they have done so. All speculation.
      • Dude, why are you reacting this intensely to this? Microsoft is a COMPANY. Their goal is make as much profit as possible by what ever legal means they can. Of COURSE they should used there patients to stiff such products! That is why patients exist. They need to protect there own property. Each and any every one of these innovate new website's should be sued to the hilt if by Microsoft if they can. What are you...some kind of SOCIALIST!?!?!
        • Just because they're a company doesn't mean they are required to be unethical shitheads that destroy entire industries because they have enough cash to do so.

          And the way I figure it, Microsoft probably doesn't want to be convicted of monopoly practices again - becuase there IS a limit to how far companies are allowed to take capitalism.
      • Re:Who owns it? (Score:5, Informative)

        by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @10:42PM (#14068365)
        Has MS sued anyone over Mono patents? No.

        However look here [] and here [].

        You don't need to sue someone so stifle progress as evidenced by the fact their Mono patents are currently stifling progress by the risk of lawsuits where Microsoft could easily remove that threat.
        • Fuck RedHat. We all know what their motivations are for spreading that FUD about Mono. They don't want it ever to become a part of Gnome because they fear losing control over Gnome. Stop being so weak-minded.
      • constantly (Score:4, Interesting)

        by idlake ( 850372 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @04:58AM (#14069613)
        Microsoft's patents on the C#/.NET APIs have already greatly stifled progress. If Microsoft didn't have those patents, Mono would likely be far more widely used on Linux. It has taken a lot of work to determine that those patents are likely not relevant or enforceable, and nevertheless they still have a bad PR effect for Mono.

        In general, merely having a patent stifles progress and is an anti-competitive practice because it forces competitors to work around it, in particular given that Microsoft has threatened to enforce its portfolio and clearly has the means to do it.

        Microsoft also uses its patent portfolio to negotiate patent cross licensing agreements and they use patents in the negotiation of individual business deals. And Microsoft uses patents to threaten countersuits when they are threatened with a legitimate patent lawsuit, usually resulting in a cross licensing deal and settlement.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:29PM (#14068140)
      Who owns AJAX?

      Colgate-Palmolive Company, New York, NY 10022.

    • Re:Who owns it? (Score:2, Informative)

      So does Microsoft have a patent on AJAX? Can they leverage their parenting of the technology to stifle progress once again? Who owns AJAX?

      When has Microsoft EVER leveraged a patent to stifle progress? Hell even their FAT and other crap they made is widely used for free, and they have sought NOTHING from it.

      Myths are like Rancors, hard to kill, even though they don't exist.
      • Re:Who owns it? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2005 @12:02AM (#14068721)
        As the author of the "VirtualDub" video editor described it:
        Today I received a polite phone call from a fellow at Microsoft who works in the Windows Media Group. He informed me that Microsoft has intellectual property rights on the ASF format and told me that, although I had reverse engineered it, the implementation was still illegal since it infringed on Microsoft patents. I have asked for the specific patent numbers, since I find patenting a file format a bit strange. At his request, and much to my own sadness, I have removed support for ASF in VirtualDub 1.3d, since I cannot risk a legal confrontation.
      • The original Office XML format was never adopted by the FOSS community because it was patent-encumbered. Microsoft was just about ready to charge storage companies a royalty for formatting their drives with FAT.
      • Re:Who owns it? (Score:4, Informative)

        by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @02:45AM (#14069327)
        Microsoft tried to squeeze apple with their patents on the ipod interface. Yes after the ipod came out MS rushed out and got a patent on the interface and tried to squeeze apple for money. Apple told them go suck ass and they never pursued it.

        Microsoft sued lindows for trademark infringement. They also sued a 16 year old boy who had the temerity to register a domain name with his name in it.

        Microsoft has repeatedly said they intend to agressively defend their intellectual property.

        What makes you think MS will never sue anybody for patent infringement after their top level executives have said they fully intend to?
  • AJAX and Comet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:30PM (#14067869) Homepage
    Personally, the whole AJAX thing is cool, and at the same time scary.

    I'm a web developer, and right now I am really getting into the stride of making very good apps, very quickly.

    With AJAX, the expectations will rise considerably. The development effort will go way up...all to do the same things we are doing now.

    I know that this sounds stupid to a lot of you...but think about games. Better graphics increase development time and effort, but don't necessarily make a better game.

    Soon, EVERY web app will need to be an AJAX app...even if it doesn't need to be.

    The age of simple software is once again coming to a close.
    • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gbrandt ( 113294 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:43PM (#14067938)
      Surprisingly the bar is raising up to a point where web developers may have to think like software developers.

      Thats the scary part...

      • Yeah, I remember back when I/people use to say that people where not programmers just because they made websites. That really has changed since perl, php, and now ajax are became popular ways of doing websites. You really do need a little bit of a programmers background to get something done on the web now.
    • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Now.Imperfect ( 917684 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:49PM (#14067977) Homepage
      I encounter the same problem. There is so much out there that it can be frustrating for a web developer.

      Personally I felt that age of simple web pages slipped away when javascript started becoming popular.

      Now to be a web developer its gotten to the point that its difficult to know fewer than 3-4 languages. And its nearly on par with desktop development; but soon will be the day when desktop and internet will be seamless.
      • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tatarize ( 682683 )
        Yeah, honestly it is rather annoying to have to learn so many languages. I wrote an AJAX Chat program the other day, I needed HTML, javascript, PHP, mySQL and really should toss in some CSS. It took half the day to get it working in a very basic sense. I honestly didn't think about it once as a web development problem.
      • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hosiah ( 849792 )
        Now to be a web developer its gotten to the point that its difficult to know fewer than 3-4 languages.

        Now that goes right to the heart of why I hate web development. Each of the languages of web design are poky little scriptlets, weak beyond belief, so that to actually *do* something, you need three or four just to get you through it. It's really saying something when you needed four languages to design the page that your web browser displays, but you only needed one to write the web browser itself.


    • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by imidan ( 559239 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:52PM (#14067989)
      I've been having discussions about that in my job recently. With AJAX as the new web development buzzword, people are coming to me and asking if we can put AJAX into every project. A lot of the web-based applications that I work on would not benefit from asynchronous communication--they really work best using the traditional synchronous request/response model.

      But I've implemented a few shiny upgrades to older web apps that we run, and people love 'em, and want AJAX in everything. There are a few applications that we maintain that make significant use of JavaScript, and people want to 'upgrade' the JS to AJAX. I've explained over and over again that AJAX is just a particular thing that you can do with JS, it's not something that you replace JS with.

      AJAX is a really cool development method, but it's like any other tool--there are certain situations where it helps, and others where you just don't need it.

    • Soon, EVERY web app will need to be an AJAX app...even if it doesn't need to be.

      I'm afraid you may well be right. Most users never touch command-line programs today, even though the command-line is, for many tasks, easier and faster than the GUI equivalent (not to mention the fact that programming for the command line is far simpler). So, yeah I hope it doesn't happen, but it wouldn't be the first time ...
    • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      Soon, EVERY web app will need to be an AJAX app...even if it doesn't need to be.

      As a user who has had to endure every application being a web application, even if it never needed to be, you're not going to get my sympathy. You're part of the group that created this problem.

      I've got no problem with distributed applications, but the idea that everything should be HTML/CSS/Javascript sitting in front of a database is just wrong.
    • This reminds me of my friend and what he did recently. He was contracted to make a website that would display a menu depending on the day of the week. The user gets to input the date he plans to order on and the drop down box will expose what he can order on that day. However, instead of just doing a simple javascript check to see what day it was and updating the drop list, he implemented it with AJAX that would send the date back to the server and the server will send the list of of items available on that
      • by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <`' `ta' `wffej'> on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:25PM (#14068123) Homepage
        True, but when the US Congress gets around to changing the number of days in a week to reduce the dependence on forign oil, you friend will only have to upgrade the server, not a bazillion web browsers out there.
        • um... informative?

          1st of all, if the calendar system did change, the same change you do to the server can be easily done to the html file.

          2nd, there are gazillions of situations one can make up so that it'd be better to have one than the either, but I'll give you the simplest scenario why it's better to do simple things w/o AJAX. Often times a webserver can be up while the database may have crashed or too many users have connected to it. Why update at semi-real-time when you can update at real-time? Why ris
      • I guess it depends on how often the 20 items or so change. I just completed my first ajax app today and it's got a similar type of very simple interface and I thought the ajax method worked better and faster than the post/reload page method or create multiple javascript array variables. My app let's secretaries select a faculty member from a drop down list and then the courses taught by the faculty appear so the secretary can select the course.

        Yes, it' simple (but I wanted something simple to get the hang
    • Until AJAX can be implemented with a tried-and-true method with absolutely no breakage in the traditional flow of movement between pages (being able to recycle data and regular page transitions using Back and Forward), there is no possible way that AJAX will become another requirement of web applications. As it stands, its a very popular trend, but it really isn't holding much weight despite what the average web developer may think.

      With AJAX, the expectations will rise considerably.

      I think I'd call tha

    • >The age of simple software is once again coming to a close.

      What makes you think that AJAX won't be made simple?

      For example, how hard is it going to be to detect and download new posts in forums (such as /.) dynamically, if you have a thread open in a tab? Not much harder than automating hitting refresh, with some XML and XSLT.

      And it won't be needed for everything, by any means. Just a certain class of web apps which need to be able to run on multiple browsers (and also on dial-up/cell phones).
      • Re:AJAX and Comet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LDoggg_ ( 659725 )
        Would be interesting to see slashdot with a new ajax-based comment view.
        Right now they have flat, nested, no comments, and threaded.

        Take something like threaded, then instead of refreshing the whole page when you drill down, just the pull down the comments for that thread.
    • In my previous company, we had an SOP for clients who demand AJAX. We show them our prototype-isque web-app with AJAX and tell them, look while we can do this, we will nevertheless need another extra X man-days to incorporate it into your deliverable, are you sure you want to pay $Y more for snazzier textboxes?

      In our experience, exactly one of the five clients how initially demanded AJAX in a two month period actually required us to do it.

  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:31PM (#14067872)
    Mr Gates is probably laying the framework for changes in the AJAX support in IE aimed at breaking competitors products.
    • Mr Gates is probably laying the framework for changes in the AJAX support in IE aimed at breaking competitors products.

      It's true that in the upcoming Internet Explorer 7, the method by which you instantiate the XMLHttpRequest object will change. But you have it completely backwards - they are changing it to be a native object, to be compatible with all the other browsers that implement it, instead of its original ActiveX implementation found in Internet Explorer 5.x and 6.0.

  • Web 2.0? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:31PM (#14067875)
    That has to be the worst idea to come out of a marketing drone since synergistic paradigm. At least Microsoft is actually working on new stuff lately. Google and Firefox have urged them to restart their old habits of copying that we haven't seen since the mid nineties.
  • In other news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sabre307 ( 451605 )
    Later this year Microsoft is planning to release a hard drive based MP3 player.

    These guys are so far behind the times it's not even funny. The next thing you know they'll be talking about how we really need something to search the web with, or an online way to look up an address. Hey, here's an idea, we'll make a website that contains information about stuff and make it editable by everyone.. We can call it a Wiki!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:35PM (#14067898) powerful and profitable Microsoft would be if they weren't always five years late to the party.
    • Re:Just imagine... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:55PM (#14068002) Homepage Journal
      Just imagine how powerful and profitable Microsoft would be if they weren't always five years late to the party.

      Just imagine how...status quo or diminished...Microsoft would be if they weren't intentionally five years late to the party. Seriously.

      5 or 6 years ago Microsoft was hugely pushing a lot of very advanced web technologies, including remote scripting, behaviours, client-side XML data islands and heavily programmatically controllable transformations, and even the much-maligned ActiveX. These enabled some remarkable web applications (ActiveX, for instance, allowed you to have auto-updating rich client on the desktop, but retaining all of the advantages of the document model of HTML).

      It really was a fantastic platform that they created, and they were light years ahead of everyone else. Of course it was entirely tied to Microsoft's platform and browser, which was why you didn't see it much on public websites, but for internal teams that were up on their chops (most aren't, unfortunately), there were some amazing solutions created.

      However Microsoft has a so-called-problem that shops like Salesforce don't - they are pulling in billions upon billions a year from their, err, "legacy" products, and often they're their own biggest competitor. The last thing they want to do is pull the carpet out from under their cash cows and enter into a new competition as a new entrant of sorts, eliminating a huge source of income, and a competitive advantage. It's for this reason that the IE team was disbanded years ago, after they shot far ahead of everyone else.

      The revisionist history where people imagine that Microsoft is behind because they're just not as advanced as their competitors really is laughable. Microsoft was a mile ahead and then decided they really wanted to run the 20K instead of the 100m.
      • Re:Just imagine... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:12PM (#14068074)

        The revisionist history where people imagine that Microsoft is behind because they're just not as advanced as their competitors really is laughable.

        Er, "behind" and "less advanced" are synonymous.

        Microsoft was a mile ahead and then decided they really wanted to run the 20K instead of the 100m.

        If anything that's backwards. Microsoft sprinted to get halfway decent Javascript and XML support, and then decided they'd won the race and stopped dead. There hasn't been an Internet Explorer rendering engine update for over four years now.

        Meanwhile, Gecko/Presto/KHTML have made steady progress and had the majority of the capabilities of what will be in Internet Explorer 7 years ago. Microsoft have acted like the hare racing against the tortoise - arrogant enough not to take the competition seriously, and have been overtaken while they weren't looking.

      • Problems (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tony ( 765 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @12:24AM (#14068820) Journal
        I agree with your premise. Microsoft often can't afford to take advantage of truly innovative technology, because that technology might erode their desktop monopoly.

        Some of the logic along the way is... problematic.

        Microsoft introduced ActiveX to ensure the web was tied to their platform. The reason ActiveX was "much maligned" is because it was just DCOM wrapped up in web semantics. Since DCOM was poorly-designed, ActiveX inherited many problems, including extremely poor security. At the time, CORBA was the standard for remote execution, and although it was a standard, it had many drawback when compared to DCOM-- namely, poor implementations that often didn't work together properly, naming service issues (still a problem, though its getting better), and huge bloat / performance issues.

        Their platform was hardly fantastic. It was cobbled together, riddled with stability and security issues, and was tied intimately to the MS-Windows platform. The primary reason nobody adopted it on the web, outside of the compatibility nightmare, was that ActiveX controls required a Microsoft server on the other end, meaning exposing an important service to the internet. I believe that was Microsoft's intent-- get application developers to use ActiveX (most app developers were MS-Windows developers), and force the sysadmins to install MS-Windows servers to support them. But that might just be paranoid delusions on my part.

        I'm glad you remember to glory days of ActiveX and IIS servers with such a warm fuzzy glow. All I remember were the serious ActiveXploits [], IIS worms [], and performance problems created by this "fantastic platform."
        • Re:Problems (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ergo98 ( 9391 )
          Not to get too argumentative, but I do disagree issue with a couple of points.

          The reason ActiveX was "much maligned" is because it was just DCOM wrapped up in web semantics.

          ActiveX was a visual component standard that was really created for Visual Basic. ActiveX had nothing to do with DCOM (of course ActiveX uses COM as the communication method, but in no way does it imply that it's talking to the master via DCOM), but rather was a COM based component that implemented a particular set of visual interfaces t
      • Re:Just imagine... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fbg111 ( 529550 )
        Of course it was entirely tied to Microsoft's platform and browser, which was why you didn't see it much on public websites,

        Actually I think it was b/c of the much-maligned ActiveX security vulnerabilities. There are plenty of ActiveX-less websites that are coded solely for IE anyway, so lack of platform-independence is not really the issue.
    • Re:Just imagine... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NineNine ( 235196 )
      5 Years late? What, is AJAX everywhere already? Microsoft is smart because they don't necessarily jump on every stupid bleeding edge technology. In case you don't have a memory, there have been hundreds of Net based technologies that have come and gone... Remember VRML? How about XUL? Write-once-run-everywhere Java? "Push" technologies? The only lemmings who jump on every new buzzword the instant it comes out are Slashdotters, and those fucking leeches that keep coming up with unprofitable web compan
  • by no_pets ( 881013 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:37PM (#14067906)
    This isn't the first time Microsoft has been late to the race. They are the masters of catch up and making the most of what someone else pioneered.

    Slashdotters are quick to laugh at Micro$oft, but Microsoft is the one laughing all the way to the bank.
  • I thank M$ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:38PM (#14067913)
    > [...]This time it's web-based software using technology such as AJAX (that MS 'invented but failed to exploit')

    There you have it Slashdotters. Here, Microsoft has some innovation to show. Sincerely, I have been slashdotting for a long time and can say I have seen very little if anything about M$ being recognized for its innovation.

    This I believe, is one of them. Thank you M$.

    • I wouldn't really call it innovation. People were doing the same sort of thing beforehand with inline frame hacks. XMLHttpRequest is nicer, sure, but it's a refinement of existing practice rather than something brand-new.

      About the only thing I can think of that comes close to being innovative from Microsoft regarding browsers was their "channel" support in Internet Explorer 4, which was subsequently discontinued when the "push" fad ran out of steam. Of course, it was highly derivative of other non-br

    • Re:I thank M$ (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DavidTC ( 10147 )
      Yes, that actually was an innovation...except that it required all sort of proprietary stuff.

      As the major advantage of 'AJAX' is that doesn't need that stuff, I guess you could say they invented AJAX...except for the actually useful part of it working cross-platform and transparently. Because of this rather obvious limitation, it failed to actually be used anywhere except intranets.

      Part of this wasn't MS's fault, as it was pre-standard DOM, IIRC.

      Any idiot can create interesting web technology that operat

  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:39PM (#14067914)
    Memo to self-

    Stop writing memos.
  • by abscondment ( 672321 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:46PM (#14067952) Homepage

    Oh, they managed to exploit it [], albeit indirectly.

  • Conflict (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kosmosik ( 654958 ) <kos.kosmosik@net> on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:57PM (#14068011) Homepage
    But with this web-based/AJAX thingies it is a bit a conflict of interest for Microsoft. MS desperately tries to jump onto the services band-wagon. But the truth is that their main revenue comes from shrink-wrapped software (like Windows or Office). They *try* to laverage that to other areas but they fail miserably.

    Take MS vs. Google. Now Google still IMHO does everything before MS, and then MS goes "me too" and issues something similar but yet worse than Google offering. In normal situation - meaning MS has no money to pump from OS/software revenue into new markets they would not get a chance against Google - they will simply bankrupt. Right now they pump the money but I doubt they get any revenue (even to go on zero line) from their web services.

    Now as far as I understand they wan't to couple web-based software (more like service) with shrink-wrappedsoftware like Windows and Office. I base that on various interviews with MS execs about MS product line I've read. But this is like flawed idea from the begining. The most valuable part (IMHO) about web software is that it only needs a browser and server infrastructure on the other end. So in fact you do not need to pay any special attention to the client side (as you would have to with shrink-wrapped software). So for e.g. you could have a big extranet with 5000 clients across the world, using one sophisticated application by web and only thing you need is decent server architecture and on client side - commodity: standard browser running on any OS, maybe a printer or smth. to get the job done.

    This is completely the opposite of having fat clients loaded with bloated OS and software suites - the MS way.

    So I see a conflict here.
    • "But with this web-based/AJAX thingies it is a bit a conflict of interest for Microsoft. MS desperately tries to jump onto the services band-wagon. But the truth is that their main revenue comes from shrink-wrapped software (like Windows or Office). They *try* to laverage that to other areas but they fail miserably."

      I had to respond because you bring up a really good point here. I don't have the original author's name, but someone on /. posted about software services a few years ago, comparing Apple to Mi

  • AJAX is a good idea for larger services, like Gmail, that many people use and it is completely seamless. However, AJAX is much harder to code, and it's not necessary for a smaller company, which doesn't need the marginal gains vs. the coding. Still, for a large company like Google, it takes less time to load (which makes Gmail seem better) and also saves bandwidth.
    • I disagree. It is a tool. It works best when used correctly. I have a small app that constantly checks for database updates and refreshes a frame when there is an update. Tiny app, but AJAX could make it significantly better with only a tiny bit of code and an AJAX plug in. The larger and more complexe the service, the more fore-thought and design that is needed. But the tool is just as effective, in small or large projects.

    • AJAX is a joke to code if you have any idea what you are doing.

      1. Use an existing RPC library, like JSON-RPC for java, to translate your objects and methods. Don't re-invent the wheel.

      2. Use an existing AJAX library to wrap the XMLHttpRequest object, like Sarissa.

      3. Sprinkle wherever it fits.

      It is quie simple actually. I was able to AJAX-ify a few pages of an exisiting app in under a day, giving them quite a more responsive feel.

  • Did anyone else first read the title as "Another Baleeted Microsoft Memo"? :/
  • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <> on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:09PM (#14068060) Homepage Journal
    Zonk has sent out another memo heralding the latest big development in the industry, as he sees it. This time it's web-based software using technology such as DUPES (that Slashdot 'invented but failed to exploit'). The Economist says 'As in previous cases, what is new is not the story itself, but the fact that Slashdotters are taking it seriously.' Commander Taco of Slashdot decided against writing a memo. 'Posting dupes is easy,' he says, whereas 'professional quality editing is a whole lot harder.'"
  • by fbg111 ( 529550 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:26PM (#14068126)
    From TFA: This prompted yet another memo from Marc Benioff, the marketing-savvy boss of, a leading proponent of the software as a service model. If Microsoft were serious about Web 2.0 and Microsoft Live, he suggested helpfully in an internal memo sent to the press, it should rename its traditional software Microsoft Dead. Web 2.0, he said, was not about old companies constrained by their legacy products but new firms such as, naturally,, Writely, Numsum, Zimbra and Goffice.
  • I hate AJAX (Score:4, Interesting)

    by barfy ( 256323 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:44PM (#14068194)
    What was a nice thing for solving problems otherwise difficult to solve, has turned into something that is making my expensive computer grind to a halt. Currently no browser likes to have multiple commercial pages open at the same time (which is how I often browse). Everybody from the content hoster, the ad folks, the editorial, and design folks gotta have some Ajax running. VERY VERY little does anything useful from either a UI or Content view, but in the end makes browsing slower, makes my computer slower, and makes me hate the F77ck3rs who think Ajax is cool. I hope this comes to a quick near death like when Java was cool.
  • It's called 'Atlas' (Score:5, Informative)

    by 1000101 ( 584896 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:56PM (#14068232)
    Microsoft has a project called 'Atlas' that has a set of prebuilt controls and javascript files that you can use for your projects. It can be found at []. The nice thing about this project is you can define an Atlas (it's just AJAX really) control the same way you define a typical asp control ( vs. ) and then link in the pre-defined .js files. I have been reading about AJAX for a while now on Slashdot (my employeer has been using it for quite a while now and I didn't even know it) but hadn't tried it out. Atlas is so simple that I had my first page converted in a matter of minutes. An earlier submitter pointed out that not all pages need to be converted or built using AJAX but the customer is demanding it. This is an interesting topic, and I have considered this myself. I have found that almost every page in the types of websites that I create don't need this technology. Most of them are your typical form where you just insert data and update a database. If you don't need a high level of interactivity, AJAX might not be the best option.
  • Writing code.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KJE ( 640748 ) <> on Friday November 18, 2005 @10:10PM (#14068269) Homepage
    After you said that writing code is a whole lot harder than writing a memo, I got to thinking: When was the last time Bill Gates coded anything? I mean I was just wondering. For all the supposedly evil things his company has done, albeit with him at the helm, he started out as a geek. Geeks like to do geeking things, I don't care how old you are... what do you think he's done recently?
  • by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Friday November 18, 2005 @10:16PM (#14068291)
    to provide the "X" in AJAX, but the concept was envisioned by Netscape all along.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @10:43PM (#14068369)
    Java applets have all the user interface/networking capabilities that AJAX has and some more.

    I think that Sun missed the boat on this one. Instead of working on a lightweight JVM for every platform, they kept bloating the language and the implementation. I don't see many Java applets anymore, it's mostly Flash and now AJAX.
  • Back in late 2000 I wrote a web page that displayed a SVG map, based on census tract data from the whole US, and when the user selected a different set of variables to view (say comparing population density to property values) the javascript on the page would request the data from my web server, which would run the needed SQL query, and return the result in XML to recolor/change the map, without reloading the huge map geometry, just the new data.

    I don't recall using any ActiveX; just JavaScript and a little
  • Belated? bahaha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aCapitalist ( 552761 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @12:49AM (#14068930)
    Microsoft is far ahead of the curve on "AJAX" stuff its not even funny. Hell, Microsoft invented XMLHttpRequest 7 years ago or so. And Ajax is a joke compared to something like XAML and a .NET runtime in the browser. It'll make all this html/css/javascript+dom look like the stone age, and it'll all be in the browser. Word and anything else they want to run will look and almost act native. I used Visual Studio ActiveX that responded reasonably years ago.

  • by Allnighterking ( 74212 ) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @12:51AM (#14068942) Homepage
    Microsoft DID NOT invent Ajax.

    Ajax = Asynchronous Javascript and XML.

    XML is a subset of SGML which existed before M$.

    Javascript is a child of LiveScript, both were created by Netscape. Nothing in what is Ajax was ever created by M$ period. The fact that they are able to see the value and talk it up is cool, but they invented none of it.

    Now I'm sure someone will bring up M$ Remote Scripting. It like LiveScript where basically in house products. Remote Script did not exist in the public realm. However at the time of it's "creation", M$ was lacking a viable browswer (Definition of Viable is it works.) IE 1.0 and 2.0 where total jokes, 3.0 was the equal of Netscape 1.0 and 4.0 began to work. By this time however both MS and Netscape were fully supporting LiveScript/JavaScript (Sometimes in name only, as each tried to extend beyond the other.)

    But in short Please, stop say M$ invented Ajax. This is like claiming that Honda invented the Car. They build them yes but they did not invent them.

    Now according to wikipedia something called. Remote Scripting supposedly pre-dated HTTP requests. (according to Wikipedia.) Nope.. sorry didn't. The concept of HTTP requests etc had been layed out for a long time before M$ existed (pre-dating the Altair) But it took Berners-Lee to be able to make it usable and, Stanford Linear Accelorator to do the most important step. Create a Distant End. In fact at the time the ONLY usable OS for this was ..... da ta da da! Next. Given that the only thing it (the web) could run on at the time was Next... I guess Steve Jobs had more to bring to bear in creating Ajax than MS did.

    Since Remote Scripting required a Java applet to work .... it had to exist post Sun creation. Sun was created After the Http request was first used. Java was first created in 1991, and introduced to the public in 1994. LONG after javascript had existed.

    So no, I had more to do with Ajax than M$ did. And I had nothing at all to do with the concept.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller