AJAX summit continued 2

More from the AJAX summit
David Heinemeier Hansson just gave a nice overview of the AJAX-related features of the ruby on rails API. It’s impossible to evaluate an API without using it (at least for me), but this stuff looks pretty neat! The basic idea seems to be minimizing the complexity of the code on the client (since cross-platform javascript development is such hell). They use .innerHtml to rewrite the html that displays to the user, and keep html generation server side. Cinematic UI effects (like fading) are baked into the API. David is a funny guy. He REALLY hates DOM-based javascripting!

Ian Lamb gave a nice presentation on oddpost: he’s a friendly guy, and always presents well. OddPost was an early IE-only javascript email client that had a lot of neat features (rss subscription etc). His presentation was displayed as a series of emails to himself, which was amusing.
Adaptive path is doing a product now. I guess we’re not supposed to talk about it, but it looks pretty neat. They’re thinking along very similar lines as me, in terms of the need to instrument client-side code in order to get decent metrics on user behavior. They seem to be copying the 37 signals model: whether it works will depend on whether their tech guy is as good as David Heinemeier Hansson.
A memorable line: Vanilla HTML apps are like “billboards with job applications behind them” (this captures nicely the annoyance of form-based UIs).
Alex Russell gave a nice plug for Dojotoolkit.org I think that toolkits will be needed before the AJAX approach goes mainstream: right now it’s just too much work for any mere mortal who’s working on a deadline.
Off to the bar now! More to come tomorrow on day 2 of the summit …

4 thoughts on “AJAX summit continued 2

  1. a May 10, 2005 / 3:22 pm

    “Vanilla HTML apps are like “billboards with job applications behind them”
    Wait, what? I’m not sure what this could possibly mean. We have used vanilla web apps successfully for a while. But there is no such thing as a billboard with a job application behind it. So what in the world does this comparison mean?
    So, what kind of billboard is Ajax? Or is it something else in front of the job application?
    Besides, everyone knows that vanilla HTML apps are like lumberjacks with artichokes behind them.

  2. jon May 10, 2005 / 3:30 pm

    What is meant by that metaphor is that their’s this very visual, engaging display, that downshifts into a very form-based, tedious, unguided experience any time you want to do anything.
    I agree that the metaphor is confusing now that I see it written down. I knew _exactly_ what he meant when he said it though.

  3. Robert May 11, 2005 / 4:30 pm

    It seems I had to be there for that one. I see the analogy after the explanation though.

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