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As IBM Jumps On Board, There's Just No Stopping AJAX Now

AJAX Will Define the Entire i-Technology Year In 2006

Not all of SYS-CON Media's developer-writers are in awe of AJAX, by any means. Yakov Fain, for example, the enterprise editor of Java Developer's Journal, felt inspired recently to write a (hugely popular) piece, entitled "Thin Clients, AJAX, and a Goat." Here it is in full, for anyone who may have missed it:


YAKOV FAIN: Enterprise Editor, Java Developer's Journal

Let me tell you an old Jewish joke.

A poor man comes to the rabbi complaining that his family has only one small room, many kids, and almost no money. The rabbi says, "Take all your money, buy a goat, and keep the goat in your room. Come back in a month."

"But, rabbi, we don't have enough space even for us," the man said

"Just do what I say," the rabbi replied.

A month later the man comes back complaining that the goat smells and breaks everything.

"Sell the goat and come back in a month," the rabbi tells him.

A month later the man comes back to the rabbi with flowers.

"Thank you, rabbi! We're so happy the goat is out, now we have more room and some money!"

So what has that story to do with thin Web clients and AJAX? Everything! Since the early nineties Visual Basic and PowerBuilder programmers have routinely created rich client applications, and if, for example, they need to repopulate a part of the screen by executing some DB query when a user types a character in a text field, they just put this query in some flavor of the ItemChangedEvent of the GUI object.

In Java it's not as simple, but still not too bad. Just register an event listener with a window control, put the db query in one of the methods of this listener, and repopulate the screen using an event-dispatching thread.

Then the Internet rush brought in plain-looking thin HTML clients (a.k.a the goat), which had to refresh the entire page after each request. Several years later, a complex technology called AJAX came about and now people are overwhelmed with joy when they see a portion of the Web page refreshed after typing in a single character. Wow! Isn't it time to get the goat out the room and return to good old fat Java clients? I wonder why sober application architects don't see it this way.


Next Page: AJAX Gets Its Own Brand New Magazine

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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