Relay #70, Panel F

don't just know technology, understand it

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ajax: The next generation of web applications

Why isn't everyone and their mother using Ajax? Is this new way of thinking so arcane that onlookers can only peer in terror? I certainly hope not.

I myself have not delved into the deep end, but then, I've been on a quest to disassociate myself from the title of "programmer" for the past few years (more on that in a later entry) so you'll understand my reluctance.

It's basic math; The web is the application delivery platform of the very near future, Ajax is the best framework available for the delivery of said applications. Yet adoption has been slow and many still look at it as just clever javascript trickery? It's a non sequitur.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. In years past many Java zealots probably thought the same thing about their platform of choice. Superior technology with the promise of many advances to come, but yet people were slow to buy in. Today, many companies that could have benefited from the cross-platform nature of Java are today limited by legacy VB (for argument's sake) applications that'll take a pretty penny to strip out and update to .NET, which is of course where these companies will go, because they won't buy in to Ajax*.

It is however, inevitable. When google, yahoo and many other net "trend setters" are moving to Ajax because of the new playing field it presents, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the coding world picks up the "fad". I just can't see what's taking so long

*Let me not be misleading. Ajax is simply a framework and can be adopted by practically any conventional web technology, but by far the majority of Ajax enabled applications have been built on non-.NET platforms. Perhaps this is because it's a little more difficult to implement, or perhaps it's because .NET has so many bells and whistles of it's own that developers just haven't gotten around to Ajax as yet. Without looking into the reasons, I'll just leave it as an observation.