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RIA & Ajax: Article

As IBM Jumps On Board, There's Just No Stopping AJAX Now

AJAX Will Define the Entire i-Technology Year In 2006

Dion Hinchcliffe, veteran software architect and editor-in-chief of Web 2.0 Journal, is very forthright about AJAX:

"I assert that AJAX encourages, even enables, software creators down a path that is inherently disruptive to the greater software world."
What does Hinchcliffe mean by "disruptive"? He means that "traditional native software" (as he calls it) will never be able to compete with the fact that AJAX software delivers an application fresh to your browser each time you load the URL, so that you're always getting the latest version, with all fixes and updates, automatically. "It's the end of software upgrades, fixes, and security patches," he says.

Next comes the fact that, because AJAX apps generally require no installation of software, you can run your apps and get your data anywhere you find a browser: at an Internet kiosk, cafe, library, friend's home, etc. "I love it that great AJAX software like Writely lets me have my software, and all my data, wherever I am at the click of a URL," Hinchcliffe enthuses. "I can effortlessly share it with others when I want and I never have to spend any of my time copying files to thumb drives, e-mailing things to other accounts, etc. It makes life so much simpler and easy."

It is the end of "isolated software," Hinchcliffe insists. "Connected software" is what is taking over. He explains:

"AJAX software is delivered using the entire Web as a platform. That means it can (with a little proxy on the server, provided by the AJAX developer) talk to and use any service out on the greater Web. This has facilitated a dizzying array of 'mash-ups' - and it means that software created from scratch is going away, as it should."
Above all what Hinchcliffe deems disruptive about AJAX is that it is hastening the deprecation of the traditional operating system.

"The issue is that AJAX software is almost completely operating system neutral," he says, adding: "AJAX applications use the Web itself as their platform and just need a browser with JavaScript and XmlHttpRequest."

"And to be sure, some browser compatibility testing must be done, but that will issue will likely only decrease as AJAX development tools provide the browser abstraction automatically. In the end, whether a user is running Windows, Linux, MacOS, or something else entirely doesn't matter. AJAX is even on mobile devices now. This is enormously disruptive to the gigantic operating system industry which generally depends on being the most compelling platform for their target audience. That just isn't the case any more. The Web is that compelling platform for an increasing number of people."
Hinchcliffe isn't the only one to be so adamant about AJAX's game-changing nature.


Next Page:
AJAX Predictions For 2006

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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