Ajax, is it just another way of doing rich client?

Jason Salas is looking forward to a forthecoming book on Ajax with
ASP.NET. I share Jason’s enthusiasm for the team behind it, but am
cautious about the buzz around Ajax. Ajax allows developers to
write applications that run on the client’s desktop and are able to
provide a rich UI, manage state locally, and even do some processing
locally before submission to the server. There is nothing new in this. Windows Forms already
makes this possible as did its predecessors (VB6, MFC, WTL). Developing
Windows Forms applications is straightforward and supported by a rich
array of tools. Asynchronous XML over HTTP requests to the server are
already supported by Web Services. By contrast developing with client-side scripting is a far harder debugging experience. But Ajax is platform independent you might suggest. Well javascript still has differences by browser,
so you will still have mutliple client platforms to target. If
you try the policy decision of ‘we only use IE or Firefox as
a browser so we only have to target one browser’ then you might as
well just target one desktop. So in an intranet environment, where
it is likely that Windows will be the desktop, it might be far simpler
to write a rich UI using Windows Forms than Ajax. For Internet
applications, I can see Ajax providing some real value, but I am
concerned that the hype will see a lot of Intranet applications written
this one, uneccessarily complicating the problem space. The advice to
‘keep it simple, stupid’ is still one of best aphorisms in software
development, so until Ajax delivers the development environment to
support easy development and maintenance I remain cautious of its value
outside the Internet space.
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7 Responses to Ajax, is it just another way of doing rich client?

  1. Unknown says:

    Hi Ian,Thanks for checking out my blog post. I found an interesting model for using web services with JavaScript:<script type="text/javascript" src="someService.asmx"></script>Neato!

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