Sunday, May 15, 2005

Finally, Sisyphus, There's Help for Those Internet Forms - New York Times

Finally, Sisyphus, There's Help for Those Internet Forms - New York Times: "Together, these are the main elements of an approach that Jesse James Garrett, of the consulting firm Adaptive Path, christened Ajax in a Web posting in February. The term itself has become controversial. It was popularized in a Wall Street Journal column in March. But David Mendels, executive vice president at the software company Macromedia, says 'Rich Internet Applications' is more accurate, while Georges Harik, director of project management at Google, suggests 'Rich Web Application' and Charles Fitzgerald, general manager of platform strategies at Microsoft, says that no special name is needed for tools that have been available to clever programmers for years. Whatever the term, all affected parties seem to agree on two things.
One is that 'richer' Web sites can make for a far more satisfactory experience, especially but not only for online commerce. Mr. Mendels of Macromedia, whose Flash technology has functions similar to Ajax, gave several examples, including a Sherwin-Williams site where users can mix different paint hues on-screen and see how they would look when applied to the doors or windows of houses like theirs. "

It's unusual for James Fallows to make big mistakes, but saying Flash has functions similar to Ajax is a bit like saying oceans have functions similar to lakes.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I don't think James is making a "mistake" here, it is a matter of what angle you are approaching this from. The point I made in the interview was that both models are "A"synchronous (eg. don't need to refresh the whole page, can get data and refresh just that component of a page); both models us "J"avascript (Macromedia's flavor is called ActionScript, but essentially the same standard) allowing for client-side interactivity; both models can use XML to load data and thus create rich front ends to a diverse set of services on the backend or in the cloud. In that sense Flash really *is* "AJAX".

I went on to say Flash (and related ecosystem of technologies) is also much more--rich media, rich graphics, realtime data, two-way audio and video, smooth animation and effects, a more consistant experience across platforms and a more robust programming model and toolset.

Anyway, it is an exciting time as more and more folks realize that the user experience of web apps generally is very poor and there are multiple options now for radical improvements.


pbokelly said...

Thanks for the context-setting and clarification -- much appreciated.