The link between AJAX and web 2.0

AJAX and rich clients are indeed intimately related, contrary to what some people say. And it’s not just that they sprang up at the same time, in the same companies, and are therefore associated with each other.
Stewart Butterfield brought this point home at the BayCHI Web 2.0 panel. The following is a transcription [via] from the podcast of the event:

“So there’s a movement from just rendering a document in the browser … to calling lots of tiny little applications that would render parts of a page. One of the interesting things about this kind of UI (which has been popularized under the AJAX moniker). Once you are committed to doing it (and it doesn’t really matter if it’s AJAX in the sense people normally talk about it, which is javascript driven, or something like this [referring to Flickr], which is Flash) … you’ve automatically made a public API. Just because of the nature of the web, the code is public, the traffic over the web server is public, what your client is calling. If you’re geeky enough to run an application to look at your tcp/ip traffic you can see exactly what is going on, and you can build on top of it. So lots of applications that didn’t publish APIs (google maps is a good example, at least initially) had open APIs that the public was able to remix. So you can take that it a step further: If you’re going to be having the API anyway, publish it, document it, and let people use it.”
That’s the relationship between AJAX and Web 2.0. AJAX applications have de facto public APIs, which are inherently remix-friendly.