Ajax Buzz

News.com writes about the old technology that’s suddently become the hottest new thing:

Start-ups and industry giants such as Microsoft continue to devise newfangled systems for delivering desktop-like applications over the Web. But search giant Google has taken a different path, using older technology to build its newest applications such as Google Maps and Gmail.

That’s prompted developers to take a second look at old-hat technologies that have been kicking around on the Web since the 1990s, such as JavaScript and Dynamic HTML.

Those older technologies–such as the JavaScript scripting language, the Cascading Style Sheets recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for applying styles to multiple Web pages, and other coding bells and whistles–are sometimes grouped under the marketing term Dynamic HTML, or DHTML.

John Reynolds adds:

The basic message of AJaX is that modern browsers, through a combination of JavaScript and XmlHttpRequest, provide an advanced client that allows you to write rich client interfaces without the need to deploy a plugin.

So far so good, but when you look at the mechanisms that are currently available to take advantage of AJaX, a boatload of JavaScript embedded in an HTML file, you will probably experience a sickening feeling of deja vu all over again.

AJaX totally blows the idea of seperating presentation markup and code snippets. The result brings back memories of pre-custom tag JSP pages… a little puddle of HTML markup embedded in an ocean of Java code (only this time it’s JavaScript).

The promise of AJaX is exciting, but until tools and frameworks automate the generating of “AJaX” we’re back to some pretty ugly and potentially buggy UI code.

Lee Gomes wrote in WSJ: “What’s new is that Ajax lets them do so in a speedier way. In the past, to change even a small part of a Web page required reloading the entire page. But Ajax knows to fetch only the part of the screen that needs changing — like the edges of the Google map window as you move around…Because less information is being sent from the main server, things move more quickly. That takes Ajax applications a big step toward the Holy Grail of having the kinds of speed and responsiveness in Web-based programs that’s usually associated only with desktop software, like Microsoft Office.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.