Machine Learning Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Machine Learning

Machine Learning : Article

Real-World AJAX Book Preview: Browsing Applications and the Role of AJAX

Real-World AJAX Book Preview: Browsing Applications and the Role of AJAX

This content is reprinted from Real-World AJAX: Secrets of the Masters published by SYS-CON Books. To order the entire book now along with companion DVDs for the special pre-order price, click here for more information. Aimed at everyone from enterprise developers to self-taught scripters, Real-World AJAX: Secrets of the Masters is the perfect book for anyone who wants to start developing AJAX applications.

Browsing Applications and the Role of AJAX

AJAX - An Overview
AJAX isn't new. It's a combination of a number of existing technologies acting together. Namely:

  • XHTML and CSS for standards-based presentation
  • Document Object Model for dynamic display and interaction
  • XML and XSLT for data interchange and manipulation
  • XMLHttpRequest for asynchronous data retrieval
  • JavaScript to tie everything together
Until AJAX came along, it wasn't easy to replicate the rich and responsive interaction design of native applications. AJAX is different from other previous attempts to address this problem since it's based on existing non-proprietary standards that are already familiar to developers.

In traditional Web applications, most user action triggers an HTTP request. The server does some processing and returns the result back to the user. While the server is processing, the user waits.

The "start-stop-start" nature of Web applications is good from a technical standpoint but not from a user standpoint since almost all user interaction results in trips to the server and the user waits while the server does the work.

AJAX solves this problem by using an AJAX engine. At the start of the session, the AJAX application loads the AJAX engine. The AJAX engine is written in JavaScript as a JavaScript library and sits in a hidden frame. The user interacts with the AJAX engine instead of the Web server. If the user interaction doesn't require a trip to the server, the AJAX engine handles the interaction on its own. When the user interaction needs some data from the server, the AJAX engine makes a call asynchronously on an XMLHttp request without interrupting the user's flow.

In this sense AJAX is asynchronous because the AJAX engine is communicating with the server asynchronously to the user interaction. So the user gets a seamless experience; in other words he's not waiting.

That's AJAX in a nutshell as we understand it.

AJAX on Mobile Devices
Now how does AJAX differ on mobile devices?

By definition, it doesn't.

In other words, as expected, a browser that supports AJAX applications on the mobile Internet will also support XMLHttp, JavaScript, CSS, and an AJAX engine.

As of May 2006, very few mobile browsers supported AJAX, but this is changing and we expect most vendors and device makers to support AJAX.

However, it's important to understand that mobile devices need more than the mere ability to support AJAX components. Support for AJAX components is necessary but isn't a sufficient condition to create new applications.

To appreciate this, we have to understand the technical limitations of the mobile browsing model. The browser model is document-centric; it's based on mark-up languages. In contrast, downloaded and native applications are application-centric since they're based on a programming language.

To be really useful, any mobile application development model must be able to access data elements that are tightly coupled to the device. These include the telephony API, phone book, text messages, messaging API, call records, SIM card, calendar, Bluetooth stack, media player, file system, and so on.

Applications running on the phone can access these services through APIs. For the most part, applications running on browsers can't access these functions except for a few proprietary solutions. Besides supporting AJAX components like JavaScript and XMLHttp, we also need an additional software component running on the device that abstracts the device APIs.

Currently only Opera browsers have announced support for AJAX but we expect others to follow suit (www.opera.com). The Opera platform provides an AJAX engine and access to device APIs (www.opera.com/products/mobile/platform/). The Opera platform is a browser-based programming environment that abstracts the native device APIs through a set of JavaScript APIs and so provides developers with access to the low-level functions on the device from the browser.

It also provides an application framework for developers to build their own mobile applications. We'll discuss the Opera platform and its APIs in greater detail when we discuss mobile applications development.

Widgets and the Disruptive Potential of AJAX
AJAX has some obvious advantages on the mobile Internet. AJAX is significant because it has momentum and the support of the developer community. It also provides a richer user interface. AJAX makes browsing applications richer and bridges the gap between the Web on the Internet and on the mobile Internet.

However, the disruptive potential of AJAX lies in its enabling widgets.

What's a widget?

Widgets aren't new. They have two meanings in computing. They can mean the components of the graphical user interfaces that the user interacts with (for example, radio buttons or combo boxes). Alternately, they can also refer to small "helper" applications.

We're concerned with the latter, the helper-type applications. These helper-type application widgets were originally seen on the Mac OS and they do small standalone tasks. Although widgets are very simple applications, the widget model is popular because it's easy to develop widgets using a few lines of JavaScript/VBScript.

Critically, from our perspective, the popularity of AJAX has led to a resurgence of interest in widgets. Of course, AJAX isn't the only path to creating widgets. Widgets can be implemented using mechanisms such as Yahoo widgets, formerly called Konfabulator (http://widgets.yahoo.com/), and other methods.

Increasingly widgets are also supported at the operating system and browser levels. Mac OS X 10.4 supports widgets via the Dashboard. Microsoft Windows Vista will provide widgets by Windows Sidebar and, in February 2006 Opera announced support for widgets in Opera 9. In Linux, SuperKaramba lets you put widgets on your desktop (www.superkaramba.com ).

Support for widgets at the mobile-browser level is very interesting for developers. The Opera platform is the first mobile AJAX framework. It also has a corresponding browser framework. However, unlike other frameworks, it's fully designed for mobile devices in the sense that it uses the same code base on the browser and the mobile device.

With minor configuration changes, the desktop/browser widget can also run on the mobile device. From a developer's perspective, there are more ways than one to monetize the widget (desktop, mobile, and browser).

Support for AJAX widgets at a browser level makes mobile widgets very disruptive.

AJAX is an open standard and conforms to the overall ethos of Web 2.0. Widgets can also call other widgets. Complex applications can be developed from simple widgets. Finally, AJAX widgets are quick to develop and easy to deploy and are capable of drawing revenue from the so-called "Long Tail."

In most situations, 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the products/services. The remaining 80% of the products have low demand and low sales. These constitute the so-called "long tail". The principle of harnessing the long tail argues that collectively these low-volume/low-sales products can add up to market share that equals or exceeds the few bestsellers, provided the distribution channel is large enough and the per-unit production cost is low. The long tail is depicted in Figure 4.5 with the lighter shade

AJAX-based widgets can be used to develop quick and cheap applications for the long tail.

So to recap:

  • Widgets built on AJAX are based on open standards and are part of Web 2.0.
  • Because AJAX widgets can be deployed on the desktop, browser, and a mobile device with minor modifications, the developer can use the same code base to create applications that can earn revenue from three sources: desktop, browser, and mobile.
  • Widgets can call other widgets, so complex applications can be developed from simple components.
  • AJAX widgets are quick to develop and easy to deploy. They are capable of contributing revenue from the "long tail."

This content is reprinted from Real-World AJAX: Secrets of the Masters published by SYS-CON Books. To order the entire book now along with companion DVDs, click here to order.

More Stories By Ajit Jaokar

Ajit Jaokar is the author of the book 'Mobile Web 2.0' and is also a member of the Web2.0 workgroup. Currently, he plays an advisory role to a number of mobile start-ups in the UK and Scandinavia. He also works with the government and trade missions of a number of countries including South Korea and Ireland. He is a regular speaker at SYS-CON events including AJAXWorld Conference & Expo.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 C...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Daniel Jones is CTO of EngineerBetter, helping enterprises deliver value faster. Previously he was an IT consultant, indie video games developer, head of web development in the finance sector, and an award-winning martial artist. Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams.