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AJAX: What comes next?

Matthew Taylor
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
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I've dabbled a bit in AJAX, and I can see that it really fills a need for web applications to be interactive with the user. But it also seems like a temporary fix until a new technology is created to make it easier to develop rich web applications.

Do you think something will be created that is built upon HTTP to make this more efficient? Or will there be some open source browser that is built to work with AJAX without that JavaScript?


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Bear Bibeault
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How do you envision client-side programming without scripting?


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Kris Hadlock
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I am really interested in HTC and XBL. Of course under the hood it still uses a scripting language, but if there was some common ground between browsers it would be a great solution.


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Neerav Narielwala
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What is HTC and XBL?


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Matthew Taylor
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 110
Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
How do you envision client-side programming without scripting?


It doesn't have to be client-side. I'm daydreaming about a way to make a rich web application that functions more like an enterprise application written in a native language without all the client code.

Maybe it's based on a different transfer protocol that allows constant connections with a "browser" that has a persistant link to the servers it is connected to.

Ideally, all the code would be on the server, and the browser would just interpret everything, changing displays and UIs as it was updated by the server linkup.
Bear Bibeault
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I'm not sure what part of your vision can't be implemented today using a Swing front-end connected to a server via RMI or other distributed technology, perhaps devlivered via Java Web Start.
Branko Santo
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Joined: Oct 15, 2005
Posts: 72
In networking world its called remote desktop.

You are actually talking about everything being on the server and the client computer just being a display.

I really do not see this happening.
Matthew Taylor
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Originally posted by Branko Santo:
In networking world its called remote desktop.

You are actually talking about everything being on the server and the client computer just being a display.

I really do not see this happening.

Why not? AJAX seems rather bulky, even hacky. Something is eventually going to come along and take its place.

I can't be the only person who things AJAX is a gap-filler.
Bear Bibeault
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But what you are talking about is an entire paradigm shift to replace the Web; one that essentially already exists (with other distributed Java and non-Java technologies), that hasn't taken the mainstream by storm by any stretch of the imagination.

What you are talking about isn't just a simple replacement for Ajax as a technology, but for the whole Web technology stack from HTTP on up.

I wouldn't say something like this would "never happen" (the future being so hard to predict and all), but it would be a replacement of the entire existing Web, not just the tiny Ajax corner.

So your question really ends up being not "what's next after Ajax?" but "What's next after the Web?"
[ December 21, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
Bear Bibeault
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And...

I would disagree with:

Originally posted by Peter Glass:

AJAX seems rather bulky, even hacky.


I don't find it bulky; it's one Javascript (or ActiveX) object. The rest is DHTML that already exists.

Now, my opinions on bulky frameworks are well known. So if you are talking about that, well, that's a horse of a different color.

I also dont find it particularly "hacky". Yeah, the details could use some cleaning up, but within the confines of its environment (particularly HTTP) it's a very handy tool.

What aspects do you find "hacky"?
Kris Hadlock
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Joined: Nov 14, 2006
Posts: 26
Neerav,

HTC description from W3C:
"HTML Components address this shortcoming; an HTML Component (HTC for short) provides a mechanism for reusable encapsulation of a component implemented in HTML, stylesheets and script." read more...

XBL description from Mozilla:
"XBL is a markup language for describing bindings that can be attached to elements in other documents. Bindings can be attached to elements using either cascading stylesheets [CSS] or the document object model [DOM]." read more...

They essentially allow a developer to extend HTML.
Matthew Taylor
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 110
Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
What aspects do you find "hacky"?

I guess "hacky" is the wrong word. It is just easy to write bad, unmaintainable AJAX. I've only dabbled with basic stuff, and I've never used a framework, so I could have the wrong impression.
Branko Santo
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Joined: Oct 15, 2005
Posts: 72
We surely agree that online stuff gets older faster.
HTTP should have been dealt with some time ago but it is still here. And we still end up building on top of it. I am sure there are better technologies but they are currently not in the spotlights either because they do not seem profitable or they are trying to tear everything that has been built by now.

Not to get me wrong some tearing down should be implemented from time to time. But I dont think its just that time right now.

Ajax has been around for years. Not in that form and not that popular for sure but it is not enything spectacular, just a combination of several things that matured and people saw a good use for it.

One thing web can not do is have permenant connections, cost of hosting would sky-rocket at least 20 times what it is right now and bandwith would go up like a million percent, and we would loose such a large part of internet that is hosted on free services because of that. HTTP as old and cranky as it is, does the job and until something better comes up "the web" is staying as it is.

Take care
Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Peter Glass:

I guess "hacky" is the wrong word. It is just easy to write bad, unmaintainable AJAX. I've only dabbled with basic stuff, and I've never used a framework, so I could have the wrong impression.


Well that's not any different from saying that Java is "hacky" because you can write bad, unmaintainable code in it.

That's why we authors are in business!

All joking aside, books such as Ajax in Action and the upcoming Ajax in Practice spend a great deal of time discussiong how to write your client-side Javascript with the same level of attention to good structure and practices that is usually focused on server-side code.
 
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