Could Ajax Wash Away Smart Clients?

There's more than one way to write a powerful client app. Just ask the Google and Flickr folks.

A key premise behind Microsofts "smart client" pitch is that Web apps are not as good as fat/rich/locally based ones.

Microsoft defines smart clients as software that combines the best of Web apps with the best of locally hosted ones.

Microsofts smart-client elevator pitch: Web apps cant handle all the complex tasks that smart-client apps can. They cant gracefully switch between connected and disconnected states. And they cant take advantage of all the rich graphics and processing power that smart-client apps can.

Microsoft has been pushing the virtues of smart clients for at least two years. But this year, the company is intent on getting that message to stick.

But not everyone thinks you need Microsofts .Net, Visual Studio and Windows environment to write powerful, savvy apps. Theres an alternative camp thats gaining some mind share. They are backing a programming model known as "Ajax," which translates roughly to "asynchronous JavaScript and XML."

Adaptive Path, a consultancy that does Web design work for companies large and small, is the firm that coined the Ajax moniker.

more. The Web is an open platform."

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