Category Archives: AJAX

The XMLHttpRequest Object

That’s what I like to see.

Thanks to AJAX Magazine.

The moment of Yahoo Mail Beta has arrived!

I was accepted into the Yahoo Mail Beta last night! I almost yelled out Yahoo! Except that it was late. And I was tired. I left the window open all night (even though it was cold outside), just so I could make sure it wasn't some sort of cruel dream. Sometimes known as a nightmare.

Behold! In the morning it was still there. And I love it. I think it increases the amount of memory that Firefox uses, but it is worth every byte.

I remember reading – oh so long ago – about how it seemed to take a really long time to load. Well, my friends, and people I've never met, it doesn't. I don't know if they cranked it up since the first people were accepted in, but I did some tests and it seemed to only take a little longer than Gmail does to load up all that Javascripty goodness. Sometimes it ran even faster than Gmail. I'm not going to post any numbers since it wasn't like I was doing scientific testing.

But, it is pretty. And it goes fast. And it comes with a keyboard shortcut for "Delete" (Google, are you paying attention?) I'm not sure about the RSS in my mailbox thing – at least not with the way they have it right now (sans folders/tags, differentiation of new vs. read, and a lack of "keep this one"-ability. And that's fine, since I have 2 good feedreaders as it is.

As an added bonus, it doesn't trap my keyboard the way the Yahoo Maps beta does.

Speaking of bonuses! It looks like WordPress has upgraded to the newest version of, well, WordPress. No more gruesome pop-up windows to handle links and HTML editing – it's all in the div's now!

Tag, you're it! , , ,

How To Decide on Professional Development

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Okay… So the title of the post is a bit misleading. I’m not going to tell you how to decide on steps for professional development. I don’t even know myself. That’s what this post is about. I just felt it was better to leave the Question Mark off the title… SEO reasons, ya heard?

So, here’s the question… How do you (aka me) decide on what to do when it comes to professional development. Here’s the example, specific to me (of course): I am currently working on a project that uses web technologies like Struts, Tiles, JSPs (implicitly), Java (also a bit of a duh), EJBs and J2EE in general. There is no real practical application of something like AJAX in this project, and the architecture is well established enough that we’re not gonna go throwing some JavaServer Faces in there… BUT: AJAX and JSF are technologies that I really want to learn. I am familiar with Java and JavaScript already, so those two seem like fairly natural extensions of my current skillz. And I have books about both sitting on my Shelf for when I finish my Java Server Pages reference by Hans Bergstrom. Okay, so really that seems simple enough, right?

Sure, but then I see another Richie Rich Internet Application made with the new Flash 8.5/Flex 2.0 engine, and that run time seems like it could be the future of web applications as easily as the others, and perhaps more so. The Flash player has something like a 94% penetration among internet users. People (not many, but some) turn off JavaScript for security reasons. So does it make more sense to make a jack move to learning ActionScript 3.0, even though I’ve never done any Flash programming before? Or, do I stick with the currently chartered course of AJAX followed by JavaServer Faces (or perhaps the other way around)?

Also obfuscating the issue is the fact that my “shop”, as it were, is mostly invested in Java and Java-related technologies, but there are a few Flash programmers who rock their “specialist” label like it was an oversized clock. Can I step up to be a Flash playa in control of the Flash player? Or is it enough to have a few people doing the Flash stuff, and concentrate on skills that are probably more widely applicable in the realm of web development?

Nels Wadycki: Thinking out loud on the daily.

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Gmail = HTML++, Mvelopes = Client / SOA

SitePoint’s PHP Blog (of all places):

AJAX is used to enhance existing HTML forms / user interaction but the fundamental paradigm is still the same as “normal” web applications. Some key smells of this style;

  1. Page reloads still happen frequently
  2. It’s possible (if you make the effort) to degrade gracefully to non-supporting browsers / browsers with JS turned off.
  3. Session state still resides on the server.

Some of the key smells with Client / SOA;

  1. Page reloads are rare, if at all. The application tends to run in a single browser window.
  2. It’s practically impossible to degrade gracefully, without maintaining seperate code bases.
  3. Session state is largely handled by the client.
  4. Javascript and the browser are acting as a runtime in the same sense as the Java or .NET runtime.
  5. It’s going to require specialist developers

Most people reading this have probably had some experience with Gmail, so you know that it fits in the first category above (now known as HTML++).

I took a free trial month with Mvelopes, and while I couldn’t justify the $8/month for their program (not when I’ve got Yodlee), it was good just to see what kind of things are possible in the world of “Client/SOA” web applications. We’re going to have to come up with a better name for that, right? Yeah. I would recommend that web developers (not so much the designers as the developers) take a look at it. The free trial is surprisingly easy to cancel when you’ve checked it out.

I think probably the most interesting thing above is the statement that Javascript and the browser acts as the run time environment. Are we going to see a JavaScript Enterprise Edition in a few years? Or is it more likely that people will find a better way to combine the Java or .NET run times with AJAX and/or DHTML and/or HTML++? AjaxFaces, anyone?