Ramblings of an AJAXed mind

If you don't know AJAX yet, if you remember how client-server architecture completely changed the face of corporate computing 20 years ago OR if you have just wandered into AJAX coz it looks cool - you will soon find out that it has, is and will revolutionise the web over the next few years. ...','



Introduction

I have recently started developing AJAX based web applications and my recent experiences of it started me thinking and drove me to start this blog.

Quite a while ago, I used to be a full time developer and extensively used VB. I never really got the hang of Object Oriented Coding but ended up managing a very successful team of OO developers. However, I often used "object based" development practices and still do today.

I strayed into web development in the early days, using it as a means to publish data and information to a corporate user base. I was always frustrated by it's 2D'ness, where fancy graphics and colours masked the inadequacies of the architecture to deliver anything more than a glorified brochure. That is until AJAX came along...

If you don't know AJAX yet, if you remember how client-server architecture completely changed the face of corporate computing 20 years ago OR if you have just wandered into AJAX coz it looks cool - you will soon find out that it has, is and will revolutionise the web over the next few years.

AJAX for Beginners

So I started building my first AJAX App over a 2 years ago, and it's still not ready. But I do only work on it part-time. However, during that time, it is amazing how the face of AJAX development has changed, with fancy do everything widgets and development environments springing up all the time.

Doomed?

But beware! It all looks far too familiar to me. I remember this from 20 years ago! What am I talking about? Feature creep. Not of the Applications themselves but the functions, widgets and development environments themselves. What effect does this have on you, the developer, the user? Performance! The more code is embedded into your application whether it's code that you have written or code that someone-else has provided in a library, it all has an impact on the performance of the application. And that is what Users don't like. Slow Applications!

Over Developed

So I tried one of these downloadable library of AJAX components and widgets, calendars, tabs, grids - you name it, it had it. I then spent best part of a week evaluating seriously, developing the kind of complex forms and functions that I wanted in my end product. I had various problems, all related to performance. You gotta expect it really. A whacking great big Javascript library loaded and then interpreted at run-time, in a browser.

Don't get me wrong - I love AJAX. But I think it there are ways and means to implement it and it isn't using a huge library that is dripping with functionality that looks great in the demos but 80% of it you will never use. Sounds a bit like Microsoft Office doesn't it!


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