The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

How AJAX differs from TAXI and Dynamic HTML

I'm no AJAX or dynamic HTML expert but I know the underlying technology is nothing new (only perhaps that XMLHttpRequest is more broadly supported now). Here's my take on the AJAX buzz these days: AJAX talks about the snappy UI experience and that is why there is all this fuss about it now.

Tim Bray's post "The Real AJAX Upside" might be an illustration of why it didn't fully catch on before now. He seems to suggest AJAX caught on because of a combination of timing and the catchy name. But I think it is because Tim and others before him focused on the wrong aspect: the client-server processing load rather than the snappy UI.

Tim delves back into the same advantages of the AJAX method (or "architecture" if you will) that he explained in his 2001 article "Taxi to the Future" which is that it reduces the load on servers, with the faster UI experience only a nice side-effect. In my opinion, this shows a misunderstanding of the software development marketplace, though I have the utmost respect for Tim as a tech guy.

Simply put, AJAX made a big splash because of its fresh focus on snappy UI. Care to disagree?
Ben Bryant
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Yes, I think that's why it (and Web 2.0) has caught on, along with what seems to be a confusion between AJAX and DHTML.

"Oh, look at that [widget], the page doesn't load when you click on it... it's AJAX!!"

I'm pretty sure the future will see a lot of unecessary use of AJAX, along with a resurgance of badly coded Javascript by people following the fad.  Personally I refrain from using AJAX unless the server-side benefits are worth the hassle, it can quickly turn into a monster to maintain.
ejustice Send private email
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I think the reason it simply exploded was because of Gmail.  Quite a few people (myself included) were doing similar things as early as 2002 but there was no big public application.

In comes Gmail..  first with the hype machine of "inivitation only" and then with the UI and voila.
KC Send private email
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Ajax is about providng a high quality user experience. Developers who came from (or also worked on) Windows Desktop applications have been pretty frustrated by the low quality of the UI we have been offering via web based clients.

We now have to get the collective act together and apply a massive improvement each and every web based application.

If anyone is interestd I have pulled together a quick summary of the toolkits under development for ASP.NET developers at - with plenty of links to resources and the opinions of others.
Mike Griffiths Send private email
Thursday, February 16, 2006
It's funny to us alte kokkers that now the trend is going back to fat clients (apparently). I remember the green letters on black screens; they worked (and still work, btw) very nicely. For heads-down data entry, nothing beats it. Kind of like vacuum tubes, last I knew still going strong for high current apps.

Then, people didn't like paying homage to the server keepers, plus they wanted pretty interfaces with a mouse, so we went to client server, with the server reduced to just that, serving up data.

Then, people realized how difficult it is to maintain client-server, plus they wanted to open up part of their network to the public, so we developed thin client browser front ends, which was basically back to the old green letters on black screen setup, except with pretty pictures and a mouse.

Now, it seems that developers are getting sick of the limitations of strict HTML browser interfaces, so here comes AJAX/Flash whatevah.

V'ayn kol chodesh tachas haShemesh--There is nothing new under the Sun.
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Thursday, February 16, 2006
AJAX imo is a direct result of too many page reload 'postbacks' - offers a server-side approach to give a client-side behavior.

Javascript lacks a good database library as well, it's only client-side and that is very limiting.

I for one would love to see something like "C# on the client side" or something similiar ("Ruby on the client side")

Steve Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
"It's funny to us alte kokkers that now the trend is going back to fat clients (apparently). "

Fat clients biggest issue is deployment. 

I think Smart clients will be a better choice - as we marry technologies.

Technologies like ActiveX tried, but again, it's a security/deployment issue.

It's easy to create apps that run in a browser which everyone uses, nothing to deploy on the client.
Steve Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006
"Javascript lacks a good database library as well, it's only client-side and that is very limiting."

Actually, there's a growing number of options on the server-side, which is good, as Javascript is one of the best languages currently existing.

<shameless-plug>Check my latest blog post on that topic:</shameless-plug>
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Saturday, February 18, 2006

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz