TAG: Ajax

Ajax Pushes Microcontent Out the Door

By now you’ve heard why Ajax is great for web-based applications:

  • It is standards-based
  • It is degradeable with unsupporting browsers
  • It is relatively easy to implement
  • The benefits of a one-screen interface (no disruptions for page refreshes)

The Side Benefit of Ajax

But there’s another side benefit, that I think might be as influential as any of the above. When you build an Ajax application, you need to break down your server calls into smaller chunks. You’re no longer requesting complete web pages when you hit your server, you’re requesting information via a simplified API that you create (something as simple as a PHP script, perhaps).

This is yet another step toward microcontent, or pieces of data that live on their own and are called together to form applications screens or web pages. If you weren’t planning on accessing your content in this way before you decided to use Ajax techniques, you will definitely have to if you move that way.

This seems to be an overall trend, however. First we gain granular access to our own content for our own needs, and then we provide public access to others after we see how useful it is.

Talking about Web 2.0 with Designers

I now have veritable proof that Web 2.0 as a term is working to describe the changing web. How do I know? People told me so. Last night I led a talk for the Macromedia Boston Users Group called “Web 2.0 Interfaces, the Future of Design”. I used Keynote for the first time, and I […]

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AJAX Pages: Embedded Javascript

This has the potential to be very popular: a project called Ajax pages has just been released, with the intent to allow people to embed Javascript code in HTML like we do with PHP, ASP, and JSP.

It’s not server-side, though, from what I can tell. It’s simply a way to manipulate things client-side in a familiar way.

Here’s an example:

<html>
<body>
<% var hello = "Hello World"; %>
<%=hello%>
</body>
</html>

Check out the tutorial to see how it works.

Standards-based Ajax Beats Flash Anyday

A few weeks ago I got an interesting call at work: John Fontana of NetworkWorld wanted to ask me a few questions about Ajax for an article he was working on. He had read a piece that I wrote called Using Ajax for Creating Web Applications.

The article he was writing is now online: Battle lines drawn again between browsers. In it Fontana provides an overview of the current browser tension between Firefox and IE.

You’ll find a short quote in the article from me (and thankfully it is one that I still agree with):

“I would say going forward that AJAX is going to have a ton of focus and support behind it,” says Joshua Porter, research consultant and director of Web development for research firm User Interface Engineering. “Because it is built on open standards, it is going to be the next plateau that we reach on the Web, like with HTML.”

On this note, I was listening to a podcast earlier today called The Platform Revolution that included Kevin Lynch of Macromedia. He talks about HTML not being robust enough for most web application needs, and suggests that Flash is becoming the front-end application tool of choice.

I think that developers will soon prove Lynch wrong, as they (WE) value open, de facto standards over proprietary tools.

“Feed” Becoming Preferred Term

Richard MacManus, in his weekly recap of Web 2.0 news, reports that the word “feed” is becoming the preferred term to refer to your RSS/Atom file. This is close on the heels of the recent BayCHI meeting that left me with the sense that there is a slow consensus coming around and is similar to the syndicate/subscribe discussion we had a while back.

Update: similar discussion going on here: (via Scoble): Jim Moore has an in-depth post about RSS as brand. He compares “RSS” to “Kleenex”….odd at first but after a while it becomes the de-facto standard.

Some of you may find this stuff uninteresting and boring. I think it is important for several reasons. First, it is always good to make sure that everyone is on the same page, that when one person says “feed” the other person knows exactly what they are talking about. Second, we all learn this way, by pushing and pulling the language of something brand new. Third, when we take a higher level view of all this we can see better the areas for improvement, where we need extra work.

The Web 2.o Naming Backlash

Lots of chatter around the term “Web 2.0″ lately. Richard has a good summary here: Tone Down the Cheerleading. I wrote a quick bit last week: Web 2.0 as the Era of Interfaces. There are many others: The Politics of Web 2.0, Not 2.0? are just two. Thankfully, the issue is not that there is […]

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Recommended Site: Watkins Get His Ajax On

There are lots of sites out there dedicated to the new UI approach dubbed Ajax, most of which relay interesting news on the subject. Few, however, actually talk about what’s going on behind the scenes. You know, all that Javascript stuff: creating objects, DOM manipulation, XMLHTTPRequest, etc.

A buddy of mine, Jeff Watkins, who has probably been writing Javascript longer than you or I have known about it, has launched a new site that fills this void called Nerd.Newburyport. He’s got several posts up so far, and reading through them I’ve learned a lot.

And yes, that kick butt Search function is Ajax…

Nice Ajax Article by Derek Powazek

Derek Powazek has written a nice article on Ajax. Notice that he doesn’t say XMLHTTPRequest even once. He’s focused on the user experience…cool.

How are you using Ajax?

I’m doing a bunch of reading, observing on Ajax. From the recent summit to a billion blog posts to its own web site, it seems to be hitting mainstream. Have any of you experimented with it? How did it go?

A couple implementations to note: Kottke’s homepage | Feedtagger

Also, go see what the tags can find you: Del.icio.us Ajax

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