[FoRK] mod_pubsub way ahead of its time: Comet solves Ajax-envy

Lucas Gonze < lgonze at panix.com > on > Wed Mar 8 18:41:30 PST 2006

On Thu, 9 Mar 2006, Damien Morton wrote:
> Umm, I hate to call you on this, but what in particular does AJAX have to do 
> with UNIX?
> I was doing AJAX in 1999, but it wasnt called that then, and it was IE-only, 
> because only IE had a DOM mutable in javascript. Its only with the death of 
> UNIX-ish / FOSS Netscape that AJAX has become a relatively universal 
> possibility.

This story just shows how little of the value of AJAX is tied up in 
XmlHttpRequest.  If you were doing IE-only DOM calls they were just 
another API into COM.

What I'm saying is that virtually nothing important about AJAX is in 
specific APIs.  What is important is the coming of FOSS-style conventions 
to browser hacking.  The pillars of the style are, in reality:

Structural HTML
CSS for display.
Behaviors vs attributes.
RESTful interactions for APIs.

Major JS functions moved to FOSS libraries like prototype.js and Dojo 
rather than hand-hacked one-off code.


>> Digressing --
>> It seems to me that the term "AJAX" directs attention away from what is 
>> unique and important about the underlying trend.  The thing that is unique 
>> and important is bringing Unix-ish / FOSS ways of working to browser apps.
>> In this case, for example, something wrapped up under the AJAX topic is in 
>> fact not asynchronous at all.
>> -Lucas
>> On Wed, 8 Mar 2006, Ken Meltsner wrote:
>>> Recent presentation at the O'Reilly ETech conference highlighted
>>> "Comet," which is a new name for an old trick: using an open HTTP
>>> connection to send data to clients, rather than using polling like
>>> ajax.
>>> Seems like it's kind of old-hat, with nothing new but the name, but
>>> people are thinking about scalability issues (threading!) and other
>>> subtleties, so it's not all old hat.
>>> http://alex.dojotoolkit.org/?p=545
>>> -- 
>>> Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but model train sets do a pretty
>>> good job as well
>>> -- 2/28/05, in a odd dream
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