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Moving Beyond AJAX: 2008 Is the Decision Year For RIAs

What's the Best Spear-Carrier for Next-Generation RIA Technology?

[For an A-Z of RIA Frameworks, from Adobe AIR to Zimbra, click here]

Is AJAX fit to serve as spear carrier for next-generation Web technology? That question, asked by the San Diego Business Journal in March 2007, was answered by the sheer scale of the last two AJAXWorld Conference & Expos, in March (New York) and September (Santa Clara). The undisputed answer is "Yes!"

So many companies have jumped aboard the AJAX train that when we wanted to do an informal survey the other day on upcoming Web and Internet technology trends, I was able to quickly compile a list of 800 different companies that are leaving the station.

AJAX is moving toward the enterprise. Google, the company that helped light the AJAX wildfire in the first place by using it in Google Maps and Gmail, has since then released a paid version of its Web-based applications for small businesses, Google Apps Premier Edition, which relies on AJAX.

Beyond AJAX
Gmail was released on April 1, 2004, nearly a whole year before Jesse James Garrett even coined the term "AJAX." Some are already saying that Comet is the next step beyond AJAX. Chester Millisock, for example, wrote recently:

"It took ten months after the release of Gmail for AJAX to become a common technology. It took ten months for others to discover what Google was doing and to learn how to implement it themselves. It took ten months to come to the point where the programmer's brain said, "This Web app communicates with the server without refreshing the page. I like that!"

The same thing is happening all over again. Except in a short while the programmer's brain will become trained to say, "This Web app has a large amount of data that it wants to send to me. The server is continuously sending data to my browser, so it's there immediately when I ask for it. I like that!"

Using a Comet approach implies keeping a connection open between the server and each client. This allows for a "push" style of notification, whereby the server can inform the client of events asynchronously rather than wait for the client to poll for updates at regular intervals.


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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