ajax summit redux.
towards the end of day 2 @ the ajax summit, i tried to come up with a short list of the places where there seemed to be the greatest agreement among the group. it's true we never did settle on anything bigger or broader than what i've got below, but i don't really see that as an issue since these small bits felt like they had a lot of value. i also tried to simplify the descriptions as much as possible — always a challenge when talking about new technology, which is in part why jesse's original coinage caused such a stir.
here's where i landed:
- old web sites (100% page-based) are like the postal service, where you send a letter and wait to get one back; ajax is like instant messaging, where you get a response immediately and don't have to wait. (props to derek powazek of technorati for coming up with this metaphor.)
- ajax allows web applications to become as powerful as desktop applications, but ajax applications are web applications, not desktop applications.
- ajax applications combine the best of desktop applications (ease of use, trust, responsiveness, reliability) with the best of web applications (networks, databases, seamless iterative deployment, different services talking to each other.)
- ajax can be used for the simplest implementations (google suggest, livesearch, click-to-change-text) to incredibly complex ones (google maps).
- ajax can be used on pieces of applications or for an entire application. ajax can be layered onto existing apps (in parts) to make them better, faster, more responsive, more reliable, and can also be used to build whole new, completely different kinds of applications.
- ajax is similar to flash in the way that it enables a much more interactive application experience, but is different from flash in the technology that creates it. there are places where ajax is appropriate and flash is not and vice versa, but there are also places where they solve different problems and work well together (like on flickr and odeo).
- ajax applications require a new approach to web metrics, since pageviews as atomic units of measurement don't exist anymore.
- ajax makes the web more fluid, more responsive, and less painful to use.