New Yahoo Maps kick ass with Flash

The new Yahoo! maps (released just over an hour ago) is amazing. The app is very smooth and slick, and makes heavy use of yahoo yellow-pages data. It’s integrated with real-time traffic info as well. The experience of dragging and dropping the map, and zooming in and out, is _nearly_ as smooth as google maps (hey for day one that is terrific. There’s lots of room for optimization with this kind of code).
Yahoo! is playing the fast follower game, and playing it well (see also an earlier post on the new Yahoo! email client). And they’re obviously thinking hard about using the right technology for the right job, rather than simply copying the google approach.

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Megatrend alert: Rich Clients, Web Services, and On Demand Software

The major trends in IT today reinforce each other in a powerful way. The two technology trends (Web Services and Rich Clients) are tailor-made for the new business-model trend (On Demand Software). The two technology trends also reinforce each each other, creating a self-reinforcing web of interactions that will accelerate once it gains momentum, and may not stop until it has absorbed most of the software world as we know it!
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Why will AJAX win?

AJAX Info writes about the network effects that are driving AJAX adoption in the enterprise and consumer space.
Programming languages in general benefit from network effects. To boil this down we could say that as more people use a particular language, the value derrived from using it increases exponentially. An example of this might be that as more people start using Ajax, more resources, information, and 3rd party components become available.
Another key point is that AJAX is a continuous, rather than a discontinuous technology. It builds on existing skillsets that web developers have in a way that some other technologies don’t.

Ajax offers something else too. It`s a way for web developers to leverage their current skill sets to achieve the first goal: build better applications. JavaScript and DHTML aren`t new, and more importantly: corporations are loath to acquiring 3rd party software components that use technologies their in house developers have no skills with. It doesn`t make business sense to jump into technologies that have rarified skill sets unless you have to because it`s expensive to be retraining your employees or outsourcing development work to specialized consultants.

He also presents a nice comparison of AJAX to some alternative rich client technologies. The upshot? Vendor Independence and Skill Set Transferrance are the major differentiators. Read the whole thing!

flash && AJAX: two great tastes that taste great together?

Alex Bosworth articulates a vision of what Flash is good for that matches what I’ve experienced. Specifically, Bosworth mentions video (one or two-way) / audio (one or two-way), combined with data sockets (“push” instead of “pull) making Flash a crucial component of next-generation web applications. Macromedia recognises this, and is working hard to make Flash and Javascript work and play well together.
Why don’t more people think of using Flash in this way? In a word, positioning. Bosworth writes: I do think there’s a very distracting red herring here, and that’s Flash’s rich user interface abilities. Every flash demo I’ve ever seen focuses on great looking shiny buttons that look like you took a slick win32 app and plopped it down in a browser window.

New Yahoo! mail rocks the house

Just got accepted into the Yahoo! beta. This is the first web-based email I would consider using. If I didn’t have multiple email accounts, I would probably switch. Differences from oddpost: 1)doesn’t use a popup window, 2)Doesn’t seem to have rss integration, which oddpost has (seems like an odd decision, maybe they want to save something for the sequel?).
I won’t post screenshots ’cause you can see them here if you’re interested.