Putting Atlas on the Map
I’d like to clarify my position on the notion of Ajax as a follow-up to a previous post on this subject. So far I’ve seen people run around with Ajax banners, chanting: “Ko01, now that Mozilla and Opera finally support XMLHTTPRequest, I can populate a list of cities in a given state!” or “I can haul images without a page refresh!”. I see lack of direction and understanding of what to do with out-of-band requests as well as clear vision (a “road map”, in Dubya’s lingo) of where to take it.
A recent post by Scott Guthrie, entitled Atlas Project, is da bomb (pardon my hipster language). If you haven’t read it—you should. It is the most comprehensive and thought-thru outline of how to get good mileage from out-of-band applications now that browsers have caught up. Folks, this is how you do it. The depth and breadth of Scott’s post shows how you mold hype into vision.
Normally, when you pull into a gas station, you see three blends of gasoline: Regular, Plus, and Premium. My guess is you might see other combinations of “user friendly” gasoline names in other states. Behind each of those names stands their gas octane rating. “Regular gas” is complete nonsense. It simply passes for “that cheapest stuff you pour into the tank so your car can run.” The octane rating is what differentiates one blend from another.
Just like the notion of “regular gas”, Ajax brings nothing new to the table. Everything behind A, J, A, and X has been around for quite a long time (long in Internet years). Dino Esposito wrote about it in 2000. Dave Massy has worked on it for years. MSDN has had it for several years. This list can go on and on. I used Dino’s technique even before the web services hype erupted.
Do we need to dumb developers down to the “regular gas” speak? I don’t think so.