Is AJAX Over

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-06-14 Print this article Print

-Hyped?"> Acting as an emcee for the session, Prosise kept the event moving with questions for the audience. At one point he asked: "Is AJAX even an important technology? Is it over-hyped?" At that he immediately laughed and added: "You know, I feel like Jerry Springer up here."

Meanwhile, Prosise said Wintellect is big on Atlas. "Were actually building things with customers based on Atlas … I think this is one of the most exciting technologies of this time. Were betting on AJAX and Atlas."
Prosise also said he has heard some developers grouse over whether Microsoft is trying to co-opt JavaScript.
Click here to read about recent announcements around Microsofts Atlas AJAX platform. "Microsoft is not co-opting JavaScript," Prosise said. "Theyre just making some very clever uses of nuances in the language" to improve its performance and efficiency. "It is 100 percent JavaScript" in Atlas, he added. Prosise also echoed the complaints of many developers when it comes to JavaScript. "I dont know about you, but I hate JavaScript; its a horrible language," he said. However, Atlas "is an incredible, extensible framework and its just waiting for people to delve into it," Prosise said. With Atlas, Prosise said Microsoft is able to make "JavaScript goo" look "a little bit more like C#." For example, JavaScript does not support things like interfaces, namespaces and inheritance, but Atlas does, which makes the language behave more like C#, he said. In addition, with Atlas, Prosise said Microsoft is building something that the company intends for third-party vendors to build upon and build an ecosystem around. Other issues discussed in the Atlas session included the optimal size of an Atlas download for users. "Whats an acceptable download size?" Prosise asked. This caused a flurry of audience responses ranging from 20KB to 100KB. "How Atlas does it today is in chunks," Prosise said. "You only download the parts you need, the core framework. The size of that is 30 to 40K." Moreover, Prosise said Atlas is actually two things, in that you can program it for the client or the server. On the server Atlas is essentially a set of controls the developer can drag and drop, he said. "The server-side controls render out Atlas XML Script and that script fires up an XML service and turns that XML script into declarative code, JavaScript," Prosise said. So the developer has two choices: to write JavaScript code of their own or "write Atlas XML Script by hand to go against the client-side framework," he said. Also, while the choice of models, whether server or client, is based on what suits each developer most, Prosise warned that as Atlas is still preview technology, it is going to change before it becomes commercial quality. "Its going to change, but if you stick to the server side now, youre going to be a lot more insulated against changes," he said. While Prosise raved about the Atlas Update Panel, which marks a section of the page that can receive updates to it via client script instead of refreshing the whole page, as "magical," he said there is room for improvement. "Youll see the Update Panel work very well before it ships. There are some issues with it now, but theyre working on them," Prosise said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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