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AJAX: The i-Technology Story of 2005

AJAX and related developments in the rich internet application (RIA) space has been an incredible story in 2005

I try not to write too much about technical topics on this blog but the story of AJAX and related developments in the rich internet application (RIA) space has been an incredible story in 2005. For example, "AJAX" was a term coined in only February with publication of the now-famous and seminal paper on the topic by Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path. Since then, it has practically become a household word and a central plank in the Web 2.0 story. I knew something very special was going on when I wrote a blog article summarizing the history of AJAX and its overall development that subsequently received tens of thousands of reads in a single day and took my server down a bunch of times (admittedly, it was slashdotted, but that's the point really.)

I believe Web 2.0, as exciting as it is, is only starting to happen. We have a long way to go and lots of interesting developments are taking place almost daily which are changing the very ground upon which we all stand. For example, I wrote about AMASS in an article last week. AMASS provides a pretty clean and simple client-side storage system for Web 2.0 applications to permanently keep information on your local computer without badly breaking security or being too egregious a hack. Now someone has mashed-up that capability with TrimQuery, a JavaScript database engine that provides the capabilities of a robust SQL database in about 700 lines of JavaScript. The result allows extremely sophisticated applications to be built to run in most any browser and run online, or offline, without the risk of losing data. We are watching the Web client turn into a full-blown computing platform in front of our very eyes.

It's not clear the world is 100% ready for long loading AJAX applications yet but then again one big driver of all this is that network bandwidth is increasing much faster than Moore's Law, the famous driving force of the original computer industry. Another sign of progress is that even the ugliness of the early versions of the Ajax model are getting fixed. Brad Neuberg (yes, the AMASS guy) has just published a very impressive article on the O'Reilly site on how to fix the Back button and add bookmark support for Ajax. These were some of the classic problems that Alex Bosworth first identified and complained about with AJAX and this new DHTML way of building non-reloading pages that are really whole applications. My point is that not only are we witnessing history in the making but it's very much not about creating "Frankenstein" hacks to make it happen. There is considerable work going into making it elegant and well-designed too.

I'm committed to understanding and helping explain the big picture of Web 2.0 and contribute to painting and appreciating the whole panorama of what is happening in this important space. While some of it will certainly be about interesting and readily accessible topics, like the wisdom of crowds, we also need to know that some of the most compelling work is going into the nuts and bolts work of pushing the underlying technology towards supporting this new vision of the Web. Stay tuned for more...

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posted Tuesday, 1 November 2005 12:45 AM

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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