AJAX and alternatives, was: Re: [FoRK] AJAX: Asynchronous JavaScript + XML

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Mar 30 15:43:30 PST 2005

Luis Villa wrote:

>On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 18:03:39 -0500, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>>On the other hand, I don't think you can do the level of multimedia
>>graphics and processing that this can:
>>Check out the BitTorrent simulation:
>>I just found this and am impressed by it for a couple reasons.
>>Hopefully they will open source it smoothly.
>So is this effectively a slicker, potentially open flash? The website
>is... a little cryptic.
It is simpler than that, but for some purposes, yes.  It is really just 
a small-language that allows arbitrary inline-Java and is effectively a 
class that greatly simplifies doing Flash-like programming, especially 
graphics and GUI handling.  The project also includes a simple but nice 
IDE, a nice library of abilities, a nice open library of plugins, good 
examples, and an easy ability to create and publish applets.

The semi-language / small language method of creating a simplified 
scripting language that gets translated into Java along with inline Java 
code is a great way to unclutter this kind of programming.  I see this 
as being cool for both Flash-like programming but also for beginning 
programming for kids (mine).

Hopefully they will follow through and leverage this into something that 
becomes really cool.
I already have simple Java code for network communication and will be 
using this in the next few days to solve a problem that I was climbing 
the Flash learning curve to solve.

>>Among lightweight browser/thin client options, here is what I am
>>interested in:
>>AJAX - when I want most compatibility, very lightweight usability, and
>>can live with Javascript
>>Flash - for multimedia presentations and some kinds of applications
>>(including chat probably)
>FWIW, I've seen excellent chat clients (notably
>http://jwchat.sourceforge.net/) in pure DHTML.
I hadn't looked at this for a while, which is silly because I was CTO of 
Jabber.com, Inc. for 3 months years ago.  Thanks for the pointer.  
You're right, I'm more interested in an AJAX/DHTML chat capability than 
Flash, at least until I want more video integration.

>>It is very interesting how the XForms, XUL, XAML, and
>>HTML+forms+scripting styles are evolving and competing.  The W3C
>>presentation of XForms at the Plenary in Feb. was very impressive but I
>>understand that the browser vendors (Mozilla, Opera, et al) are
>I believe Mozilla has a fairly decent xforms implementation as a plugin already:
>But yes, I do also believe they are already talking up a replacement.
>>MS seems to be preparing for XAML-as-browser-replacement,
>>which would be great for a Firefox/XUL/Java/OSS solution but scary from
>>The untrustable Monopolist bad-boy of the IT world.
>This scares me (as a free software developer) more than anything else
>MS is doing. The web is /the/ killer app; if they succeed in patenting
>it (which is basically what a XAML-based web would mean) then all
>other OSs are DOA.
The flipside is that XUL-like (and AJAX, Flash, Processing et al) have 
just as much chance of making traditional and ineligant 
thick-application development obsolete, seriously undercutting 
architecture affinity upon which such a monopoly depends.  Someone had 
to have looked at XUL and said: "crap, the popularity of HTML and XML 
show that if you could invoke arbitrary infrastructure and application 
logic with XML like HTML pages are used, native applications are dead".  
Or so I imagine.



swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

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