Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Technology

Early AJAX Office Applications 426

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the proof-of-concept dept.
prostoalex writes "Perhaps many, who viewed Zimbra presentation from yesterday, thought about other office-related applications they would like to see moved to the Web. Richard McManus on ZDNet provides a list of the currently available AJAX apps. Did you know there was AJAX word processor, AJAX spreadsheet, AJAX calendar, AJAX presentation-building software, AJAX e-mail client, AJAX note-taking software and some other interesting applications, which, deployed on your local server, do not need installation and "just work" in a browser window?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Early AJAX Office Applications

Comments Filter:
  • Yes but... (Score:4, Funny)

    by yobbo (324595) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:52AM (#13674209)
    ...does it keep my kitchen clean?
  • Meh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:57AM (#13674218)
    I'm still waiting for an AJAX-based browser. Just think about it! The ability to use a browser without having to install it! You just browse on over to the site!
    • by Scoria (264473)
      Yes, and perhaps the cache sanitization utility could be called AJAX!

      I'll be here all week, unfortunately.
  • Java applets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:57AM (#13674219)
    Remember java applets?! They were suppose to do these kind of things...
    • Sun screwed it with their crappy and bloated VM...

      Microsoft JVM feels much faster than Sun VM. I remember one game by Jagex which made my 1.9GHz system (Sun VM) feel worse than M$ JVM on my Cyrix MII PR233 of years gone by.

      I used JamVM for my website instead of Sun too, because Sun was 37% slower of what just amounted to a blog with a MySQL backend! It was also harder to downsize since it wasn't built for footprint unlike JamVM.
    • Re:Java applets (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:42AM (#13674349)
      The problem with Java applets is they require too much to be installed on the client side. This has big security and performance implications, leaving aside the quality of the available JVMs. Nevertheless, if AJAX had not come along, I think we would have revisited how to make use of Java practicable. With AJAX, most of the application logic remains on the server side. This drastically improves the ease of implementation.
      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:33AM (#13674468) Homepage
        The problem with Java applets is they require too much to be installed on the client side. This has big security and performance implications

        Security? XMLHttpRequest is very cool, but (albeit for reasons not the same as those you gave for Java), it's likely to fall off its pedestal very soon in the face of these security problems [devx.com].

        In short, assuming you have the functionality turned on (I assume there is a way to turn it off in present browsers, though I haven't checked), XMLHttpRequest breaks the assumption that web pages only record what you're doing when you "submit" a request (don't think this applies to Flash, but it's normally obvious when a flash app is being used).

        In short, it's theoretically possible for a site to be receiving information about pretty much every action you carry out within a browser window, and practically *quite* possible (and likely) for less than trustworthy sites to be receiving information you'd rather they didn't (if you knew about it); I could go further, but the article pretty much explains it well.
        • by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:13AM (#13674573)

          In short, it's theoretically possible for a site to be receiving information about pretty much every action you carry out within a browser window, and practically *quite* possible (and likely) for less than trustworthy sites to be receiving information you'd rather they didn't (if you knew about it); I could go further, but the article pretty much explains it well.

          This is a problem with Javascript in general, not a problem with AJAX per se. It's been possible to leak information in this manner since Netscape 2.0 - you just swap in an image with the URL http://www.example.com/image.gif?timestamp-mysensi tiveinformation [example.com].

          Basically, if you don't want a website to know how you are interacting with a page on that website, you need to switch off Javascript altogether.

        • by sheriff_p (138609) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:22AM (#13674602)
          Well before the advent of AJAX, I build javascript to monitor a user's mouse trail and keypresses over a website. It would take this information from event handlers, and serialize it into a cookie, which would be read by the next page they visited on the site, stored, and could then be played back easily through an admin interface.

          If you've been assuming this isn't possible, or in use (the company I built it for still uses it, I believe), you're missing a point here.

          More details in a back copy of TPJ, who I wrote it up for.

          +Pete
        • To help users that are concerned with those threats, that are not new as said before, there are a couple of firefox extension that will help prevent those problems.

          Add block : permits blocking external javascripts with a flexible set of rules.

          no script : enable javascript, java and plugins only to trusted domains.

      • Re:Java applets (Score:3, Insightful)

        by asb (1909)


        But still, all the user interface code is sent to the client in a human readable plaintext format. That is why you only see Flash demos of commercial Ajax applications.

      • The one reason why AJAX apps are doing so much noise is that they use standards that work everywhere

        There's nothing stopping you from writing a C-based app which does most of the job on the server and which you download from a web page - put it in a restricted SELinux environment and you've the security. AJAX exist is just about convenience, not technical merits
    • by asb (1909) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:31AM (#13674463) Homepage

      Actually, I do.

      When Java applets were the next hot thing, I could not use any of them because they all assumed that I had a 8 point font. With my 16 point font, entering data to text fields was a pain in the ass. Now, I go to see the Ajax applications. Lo and behold! All of them assume that I use a tiny 8 point font.

      I'll just move along. There seems to be nothing worth looking at here...

    • Re:Java applets (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stymyx (862298)
      The problem with Java applets, is that they don't interact with the HTML of the page the way Javascript does. So my GUI has to be either ALL Java or ALL HTML. Whereas Javascript was designed up front to interact with the document DOM, and therefore it becomes easy to mix in to the web page.
    • Re:Java applets (Score:5, Insightful)

      by killjoe (766577) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:02AM (#13674528)
      Java web start is the obvious choice here. The fact that people are choosing AJAX instead of Java is due to the spectacular failure of SUN to....

      1) Make sure that every desktop gets a new JVM which updates itself automatically.
      2) Make sure that the java web start doesn't look ugly as ass and behaves weirdly.
      3) Present the platform as an alternative to HTML development.
  • Web Applications (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MadX (99132) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:57AM (#13674220)
    I really like the way that Web apps are starting to make a comeback.
    Yes, it's true that there will always be problems with compatibility in browsers,
    but at the end of the day, to make the underlying OS insignificant, it makes the adoption of alternate OS's become easier.

    Who knows, maybe the pressure will cause other proprietary companies to start looking at the way they
    do business ? A pipe dream now ... but so was flying to the moon !!
    • Re:Web Applications (Score:4, Interesting)

      by trentrez (918830) <mattslight@@@incite-ict...com> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:57AM (#13674384) Homepage
      Forgive me for saying this, as my understanding of the X Windows model is limited, but aren't rich web applications like this moving towards a server client model similar to how X works. Except in this instance we have the web server serving the applications' content and the browser acting as the client.

      It's quite ironic that all this talk of the OS becoming insignificant is just yet us piling another layer on top of our systems. Shouldn't more effort be focused on making a standard and open windowing system so that developers have one windowing GUI to think about when making their apps (instead of the current big three, namely MS Windows, X Windows and Mac OS X). Yes web apps address this, but in my opinion the way they are approaching the solution is completely backwards.

      Fair enough these web apps allow you to access your program on the move, allowing you to only worry about whether the terminal you are sat at has a nice browser that supports JavaScript, but think about Exchange server when coupled with Outlook Web Access - we suddenly see that these rich AJAX apps are nothing new and are in fact a step in the wrong direction. We should be focused on bringing everything down a level - not piling everything inside a web browser.

      Imagine an OS model where you have a server running at a nice secure location with all your applications running 24/7 then you have a standard windowing desktop client OS that connects to your server to bring up your apps and data where ever you are, be it at work, home or sat on a train on your PDA. I think having a windowing system that would allow this would be far more advantageous than using either remote desktop (VNC etc) or rich web apps (Java, AJAX etc).
    • Re:Web Applications (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      It's been happening in the IT department and IS departments for a couple of years now. Every app we write is now a webapp. it eliminates any load on the IT guys because the apps simply exist without having to install them. Granted it makes them all unavailable when the webserver goes down as well as the backup webserver. but the same goes for most enterprise level apps anyways as they use a server side component already.

      we have written 10 critical apps that the company absolutely relies on, the timesheet
    • by jafac (1449)
      If I, as a user, have to "Pay-per-use" for their AJAX word-processor, then screw it. I'll download and install one of the fine, free alternatives, or bite the bullet, and buy a copy of MS Office.

      The reason Web Apps failed, is because they tried to impose a "pay-per-use" model, and failed to develop any reasonably workable micropayments system (in other words, pay-per-use means macropayments per use.)

      Fuck that.

      I already have a monthly electric bill, a monthly transportation bill, a monthly mortgage payment,
  • Webservices gone mad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:58AM (#13674223)
    Webservices were going to rule the computing world. You'd download apps as you needed them from vendors, then they would automatically bill you for the rental, but only for the time spent using the actual product.

    That idea died a horrible death, despite Microsoft's best efforts to make the Network the Computer.

    Now webservices are back, but instead of building miniature application control building blocks, the entire application interface is downloaded to your browser. Everything immediate runs client-side and anything that needs a backend is sent upstream to the server. No more trying to keep a network connection alive between the client PC and the network server. Everything can be kept very asynchronous.

    It's no surprise that this is the way things are evolving. Even the first CGI programs foretold this type of usage pattern. You'd get an interface on the client side and the heavy processing would be done on the server. But now with faster connections and the ability to run more stuff on the client side, a lot of processing can be and has been pushed off the server and onto the client browser.

    It's very interesting, and quite a pleasant break from the barrage of boring sysadmin-specific stories here.
    • by Ewan (5533)
      Surely Sun said the network was the computer?
    • "That idea died a horrible death, despite Microsoft's best efforts to make the Network the Computer."

      You're thinking of Sun ("The Network is the Computer". Microsoft doesn't want network applications to take off because it undermines the strength of their platform.
    • That idea died a horrible death, despite Microsoft's best efforts to make the Network the Computer.

      As others have pointed out, the Network is the Computer was actually Suns slogan. I believe Microsoft did everything in their power to destroy that idea and the idea of platform independence, because at the time they had nothing to compete with in that area, and if it took off it would reduce the importance of Windows and Office. See for instance their immediate attempt to destroy cross-platform Java by introd
      • by lushman (251748) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:50AM (#13674499)
        I too was skeptical about AJAX when I first saw a demo. Given an intuitive IDE you can realise your vision very very quickly. AJAX applications are fast and lightweight. Maintaining them is incredibly easy and the deployment is a cinch.

        I admit, I was enthusiastic about Java Swing applets at one point, but they really haven't evolved from the clunky things they were ten years ago. AJAX isn't just a stupid acronym. It's a truly workable system.

        For a good IDE check out TIBCO General Interface [tibco.com] - it's not open source but it can give you a good idea of what is possible with this technology.
    • Webservices were going to rule the computing world. You'd download apps as you needed them from vendors, then they would automatically bill you for the rental, but only for the time spent using the actual product.

      My understanding was that "web services" referred to the SOAP (XML)-based information services that first appeared in the early 2000's; they didn't provide an application, per se, just information with a standardised API and return format. So, for example, I wrote a simple Perl script that used
  • by cheezemonkhai (638797) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:59AM (#13674229) Homepage
    Stop with the acronyms for goodness sakes.

    AJAX is a floor cleaning product.

    I'm sorry to say this, but there are too many people who think something is cool because it uses the latest hip technology. Nobody cares that it is AJAX, they just care that it works well and does what they want.

    The sooner OSS and other people writing software out there realise this the better.

    Rant over
    • by mpcooke3 (306161) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:08AM (#13674257) Homepage
      It amused me that to rebel against the Acronym ridden J2EE crap someone coined the phrase "POJO" - Plain Old Java Objects, just to make it sound more sexy.
    • I'm sorry, but just because you rant, doesn't mean you should be modded up.

      Ajax is a floor cleaning product. AJAX is an acronym standing for something different. The fact that the two have a similar name is irrelevent. Thinking differently means you should probably go for a CAT scan (no, not "cat scan") or perhaps a PET scan (no, not "pet scan"). Perhaps you should go stand on a soap box in front of your local city hall with a bull horn and expound the virtues of a non-acronymic world.

      Give me a brea

    • AJAX is a floor cleaning product.

      And here I was thinking Ajax were two characters in Homer's Iliad. :-)

      You are right that people in general don't care. But this is slashdot, the site with news for nerds, and I suspect that many slashdot readers do care.

    • by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:48AM (#13674366)
      The sooner OSS and other people writing software out there realise this the better.

      That's right. Quit wasting time naming things, and get to work, you layabouts! We don't need no stinking names for things. If I want to use that spreadsheet I'll just say, give me that, uhh, counting thing.

    • by Da Fokka (94074) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:48AM (#13674367) Homepage

      AJAX is a floor cleaning product.

      Yes. And a Greek play [wikipedia.org], a Greek hero [wikipedia.org], an anti-aircraft missile [wikipedia.org] and a soccer club [wikipedia.org] from Amsterdam.

      All the good words were used up long ago. Maybe it's time to stop using vowels and open up the possibility of words like krggggnx!

    • AJAX [eod.com], noun
      An acronym for the phrase "Accessibility Just Ain't eXciting."
    • AJAX is a floor cleaning product.

      Actually, Ajax is the name of two warriors in the Trojan wars. The name was then misappropriated for a floor cleaning product (heroic cleaning?), but I suppose as you demonstrate, people these days don't know their classics anymore.

      If the term "Ajax" becomes associated with a dynamic web display technology, I think that's a step up from floor cleaning.
  • Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by omgpotatoes (916336) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:00AM (#13674231)
    ..hello GoogleOS! Platfrom-independent, all online, all the applications you need. Who cares if it's viewed out of IE?
  • Network failures. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:01AM (#13674240)
    Great, so now the network being down means I can get absolutely no work done.

    I'd like this if they sold $20 dumb terminals to use it, but I paid a lot of money for a computer that can run applications locally without constantly going to the network.

    And just in case they mentioned that that's not a concern in one of those 40 linked pages, no, I didn't read all the articles, so feel free to yell at me now.
    • Re:Network failures. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Simon Brooke (45012) * <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:08AM (#13674255) Homepage Journal
      I'd like this if they sold $20 dumb terminals to use it, but I paid a lot of money for a computer that can run applications locally without constantly going to the network.

      Most people - the overwhelming majority - are not competent to use a general purpose computer. They don't understand about basic things like security and backups. Consequently their machines are crawling with viruses and trojans, and when eventually they have a hardware problem they lose, in many cases, months or even years of work.

      For these people, a thin client web appliance using applications hosted remotely on machines maintained by competent people makes a huge amount of sense. And, frankly, that's 90+% of the whole population, so this is potentially a very big market.

      • Re:Network failures. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hosiah (849792)
        Most people - the overwhelming majority - are not competent to use a general purpose computer.

        Suddenly, I heard angelic harps. This way lies heaven! Let the 90% use their computer like a webTV unit or thin client or whatnot, do whatever they need to do with webapps, the pressure will be off of the remaining 10% of us to dumb down the computer as we know it to drool-proof status...and everyone will be *happy*!

        No, wait, the codeine's wearing off...

      • Most people - the overwhelming majority - are not competent to use a general purpose computer. They don't understand about basic things like security and backups. Consequently their machines are crawling with viruses and trojans, and when eventually they have a hardware problem they lose, in many cases, months or even years of work.

        For these people, a thin client web appliance using applications hosted remotely on machines maintained by competent people makes a huge amount of sense. And, frankly, that's 90+
    • by hostpure (918706)
      Can anyone say 56k? Heck, im even on a 2mbit adsl line and I wouldn't dream of running one of these on my browser, I am limited to 10gb/mo bandwith and I dont even want to think of what these would use. Anyway, OpenOffice now has everything I need - writer, base, calc and math. Keep the bandwith for something useful (reading slashdot comes to mind...)
  • by Roullian (156510) <julien@julien-du ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:02AM (#13674241) Homepage
    There's also an Open Source "Todo Lists" application called Tudu Lists.

    You can check it out on SourceForge : http://tudu.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net].

    And you can use the live site : http://tudu.ess.ch [tudu.ess.ch].

    Everything's free and Open Source (GPL), so you can check out how it works.
  • Sadly, the spreadsheet doesn't work with Konqi at all. None of the text you enter either shows up or gets saved. In Mozilla

    • Can enter fields.
    • Cursor key navigation does not work
    • Can't alter column widths by dragging or any other obvious way
    • If text entry gets too long, text entry box grows a scrollbar which obscures the content.
    • If text content wraps, field height grows but field label height does not! No, this behaviour is inconsistent: sometimes it does.

    I'm carrying on playing, because this is p

    • Further to that, Konqi can't load a spreadsheet created in Mozilla. Still playing...
    • I'm carrying on playing, because this is potentially very, very cool technology indeed.

      It's interesting, but more in a dog which can talk kind of way. It's not what the dog has to say, it's the fact that it can talk at all.

      There's some fairly impressive AJAX stuff about, but if you were to consider, say, the Google Maps interface as an offline, desktop application, it's not so great. Look at Google Earth as an example of what can be done in a modern application - similar data, a considerably more advanced i
    • Opera 8.50, on Debian:

      • Can't view a spreadsheet created in Mozilla, in Opera.
      • Scrollbar obscures text entry box, all the time.
      • Can't see column headers.
      • Can't see grid.
      • Don't know if I'm creating any text, but if I am I can't see it.
      • Don't seem to be able to save a spreadsheet from Opera - if I click 'Save', and then, in Mozilla, reload my list of spreadsheets, the one created in Opera does not appear.
  • Sheesh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    People have been doing this stuff using the same methodology since < 2003 and have been dealing with the pros and cons eversince. Convinsing PMs that the technology has potential was a lot of trouble then, but since the term AJAX was coined the situation has become the opposite; we are now trying to point out the pitfalls.


    The power of buzzwords in people's minds is astonishing. Guess our brain is too dependent on abstraction/handles.

  • by pythonista (754333) <ghoseb@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:08AM (#13674260)
    S5 is not an AJAX app. It uses plain JavaScript and some CSS. Nothing like XMLHttpRequest is used in S5. To create an S5 presentation, one needs only text editor. The javascript and CSS is only for the presentation and has nothing to do with the actual slide creation process.
    • Nothing like XMLHttpRequest is used in S5. To create an S5 presentation, one needs only text editor.

      While it's true that S5 doesn't use XMLHttpRequest, why are you talking about text editors? You can write web applications using XMLHttpRequest with a text editor too. It's not some sort of binary thing that needs compilation and plugins, it's just Javascript that uses particular APIs.

  • by TodLiebeck (633704) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:12AM (#13674268) Homepage
    Here's another example of an AJaX e-mail client [nextapp.com] written using the Echo2 Web Framework [nextapp.com]. This one is very much no frills (it's an example app for Echo2) but it does include complete MPL/LGPL/GPL source.
  • by LQ (188043)
    Anyone remember Sun 10 years ago banging on about Java thin clients and the end of the PC? I'm certainly seeing more and more customers who don't want to install software on their users' PCs. Centralised browser-accessed apps will eventually become the norm for commercial use.

    My Java tip for the near future is Echo2 [nextapp.com] or something like it. Sophisticated AJAX without writing a line of HTML or JavaScript.

  • BUT.. i'm yet to be convinced they are at a stage they can take on an exe. I wouldn't want to start a major application to find some future release of IE breaks it horribly. i use wxpython for the moment it's the closest thing i've come across so far to being truely platform independant with all the bells and whistles.
    i'd be majorly chuffed if i could so the same things via a web browser however.
  • by Frac (27516) * on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:15AM (#13674277)
    The Ajax apps all look extremely impressive, but I do believe inconsistent UI will eventually plateau the adoption. Developers love to play the artist when there's a clean slate, and everyone will have their own set of icons and widgets.

    Developers need to understand that once you're over 25 years old, you don't care to learn brand new interfaces all over again. The closer it looks to something familiar (your Windows/Mac OS UI), the better. For God's sake, if it doesn't look at Windows, at least make the metaphors intuitive.

    My recent pet peeve is tiny little icons, just for the sake of tiny little icons. I'm familiar with the standard "Open", "Save", "Copy", "Cut", "Paste", and "Print" icons. That saves real estate over text, and saves me time.

    However, With monitors getting bigger and bigger, unique icons will NO LONGER OFFER THE SAME BENEFIT. I'm not going to hover my mouse pointer over every single 8-pixel-by-8-pixel icon you have, just to forget it the next time around because you lined up 50 of them on the toolbar like lucky charms. If there's room for text, and if that saves time, put the text in!
    • The Ajax apps all look extremely impressive, but I do believe inconsistent UI will eventually plateau the adoption. Developers love to play the artist when there's a clean slate, and everyone will have their own set of icons and widgets.

      Frankly, that's a completely bogus argument. Early X Windows applications had wildly inconsistent interfaces. Then, gradually, over time, people learned this was a bad idea, and people started developing user interface standards. Furthermore, as GUIs got more complex a

      • Frankly, that's a completely bogus argument. Early X Windows applications had wildly inconsistent interfaces. Then, gradually, over time, people learned this was a bad idea, and people started developing user interface standards. Furthermore, as GUIs got more complex and GUI toolkits got better, the overhead of rolling your own became too much for most projects, so they tended to use toolkits.

        I'm not sure how your statement disagrees with mine. The point of my post is that the mishmash of bad UI will eventu
  • Some good ideas.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onion2k (203094) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:19AM (#13674289) Homepage
    Things where one user needs to access an application from many locations (email for example), or where a group of distributed users need have instant access to shared information (calendar, notes) .. great idea to have a remotely hosted application or data store.

    But for word processing? Spreadsheets? That seems like a waste of bandwidth, and an unnecessary security risk. I've been working remotely for the last 2 years (300 miles from the company office). I've never encountered a situation where a remote service text editor would be preferable to a local app. Given my flaky internet connection that would really be a very bad thing. Whatsmore .. I'm not sure of course, but I rather doubt the capability of a javascript based spreadsheet. It might be ok for holding a small set of data and a handful of equations, but I wouldn't much like to view the last 10 years of accounts of a medium sized company with one. It'd be considerably slower than a properly compiled and optimized application.
  • Guess we've managed to test the scalability of the implementations already.... cute names, though!
  • jotlive.com (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Check out jotlive.com

    This is an awesome collaboration tool. If anyone has some insights on how this works (technically), I'd appreciate it.

    I was under the impression that you can only poll from client to server, not the reverse, yet this application shows instant change (so no 10 sec continuous polling)
  • please let it die (Score:3, Insightful)

    by germ!nation (764234) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:42AM (#13674350)
    Having only just managed to ween my co-workers off a ton of needless javascript in their applications 'improvements' in web technologies such as AJAX are a concern to me. Having read all about 'Web 2.0' technologies, I'm left to wonder where the business case for all this while STILL maintaining standards in accessibility comes from?

    Please note: accessibility means equal access for ALL, it is not a term to differentiate disabled internet users from their able-bodied peers.

    So now we have we have to use libraries that work for IE and every other browser separately, we then have rewrite it all for people using accessibility aids that often use scraping techniques to get content from the page and wont update unless the page refreshes, so we have to write a legacy version anyway (of course, you can make the call that the chance of getting sued is low enough not to bother).

    Before people say we have to write a ton of code to account for different browsers and accessibility combinations, I work supplying web apps to public sector education bodies and none of my applications require wild cul-de-sacs of code for special scenarios.

    We have only just started mastering equal access for all in web applications as it is, the last thing we need is a new generation of web developers who think that "omg cool functionality kthx" > accessibility
    • So now we have we have to use libraries that work for IE and every other browser separately

      No, the difference between the XMLHttpRequest object in Internet Explorer and the XMLHttpRequest object in all the other browsers is merely the way in which you instantiate it - which you can emulate in Internet Explorer with only a couple of lines of Javascript. Furthermore, Internet Explorer 7 will be like all the other browsers too.

      we then have rewrite it all for people using accessibility aids

      You do

    • the last thing we need is a new generation of web developers who think that "omg cool functionality kthx" > accessibility

      Huh? New? I thought that was the way it always had been? Trying to make people write (working) standard-compliant XHTML/CSS and convincing them that there is a reasons for doing so, is hard enough already.

      Stuff like this will surely make it even harder. Not saying Gmail ain't funky though.

  • by RPoet (20693)
    I used s5 for my Masters thesis presentation. It worked great, but I don't know if I would call it "AJAX". It's just combines XHTML and CSS, very well.
  • Back when I started computers, we had dumb terminals with applications running on mainframes. I had no ability to write my own code; I had no right to execute CPU cycles for anything other than work. And nor could I, as CPU cycles were audited and 'billed' against each department.

    And so we will return. The server based module of applictaion licencing will suit the likes of Microsoft enormously. They want a constant revenue stream, not just intermittent ( but huge ) income on new product releases.

    More insidi
  • Well, it seems that the idea is not really new. This guys [nyandu.com] are already offering a web OS (or at least a desktop) and a bunch of web office applications. All AJAX based.

    And (I happen to know these guys), they are turning open source. The official announcement should be next week, methinks...
  • The biggest disadvantage of ajax that I can see, is that it's written in javascript and there is no debugger available for the various web browsers (except Mozilla).
    Developing a large application without a debugger is not fun.
    Why not use flash? It seems to do everything that ajax can do, but it has a IDE and debugger available and there is the added advantage that it's cross platform (ajax requires that you write a seperate version for IE and Mozilla).
  • AJAX, it's magic! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xugumad (39311) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:26AM (#13674444)
    Everyone seems to be running around raving about AJAX applications. Why do you all think AJAX is so good? Really? It's cool if you need to update a webpage without reloading (and particularly for server-push), but why do I want server-push functionality in a word processor, spreadsheet, calendar, presentation-building software or note-taking software (note, I've taken e-mail client out of that list, as server push is actually useful there)?

    Sure, if these were tools to allow multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously, but these all seem to share data only after it's been saved back to the server. As someone else pointed out, the presentation application doesn't even use AJAX!

    Would people please stop using AJAX to mean "Really cool looking Javascript application"? If Javascript applications excite you, fine, you're welcome to them, but please get the terms right...
  • My prediction ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TarrySingh (916400) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:27AM (#13674449) Homepage
    that Google will come out with it's Online GoogleOffice Suite here [blogspot.com] and eventually a Web Deployable OS with unstructured XML DB will soon be reality. Like I say, People will make lot's of Software, it's the impeccable timing of Google, that will make their products shine, be it Office products or others.
  • by Dr.Pepper42 (918840) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:55AM (#13674518)
    My favorite AJAX application is the Avalon Business Management Suite [avalonbusiness.com] by Avalon Business Systems. We use it at work and it's by far the most intuitive and useful web app I've ever seen.

    It's nice because it allows you to do real-time client (etc.) searches asynchronously which allows you to get a ton done with only one real page load.

    I've seen some decent commercial and free AJAX implementations as well, but outside of Google and Avalon, they seem more focused on "cool" than "useful".

  • My Beef: Interface (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lwells-au (548448)
    It might just be me -- and this might sound like a personal whinge -- but I am interested to here what other people have to say.

    I find these AJAX applications very impressive, even if - according to the endless /. posts - the technology is nothing new and its just a silly acronym. But I digress. My biggest problem is that I like my major applications -- email, word processor, spreadsheet, html editor, whatever - to a seperate *unique* presence on the (*hides head in shame*) Windows task bar. It is so muc
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beforewisdom (729725) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:33AM (#13674639)
    AJAX sounds like it will be a boon for naturally based web applications.

    I don't see office applications as being naturally web based applications, they seem to be very natural living on my desktop. I can't see why I would need to be connected to write a paper or do my budget.

    On the innocent side it just seems like a misdirected project.

    On the sinister side it seems similar to e-books....another way to take away something I have come to take for granted as possessing.

    My word processor may be old, but it is mine.

    I can just see the bull shit now.

    "Oh, you don't own the AJAX office suite, you were only renting the use of it. Since your lease is up you cannot use it to view your old work... unless you want to pay us more money"

  • Paging the Web (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @09:09AM (#13675094) Homepage Journal
    How about an AJAX WYSIWYG Drag & Drop webpage layout / HTML editor? I don't care if it's compliant with all those buzzwords, but I do want to hit a page, drag GUI and JavaScript objects into it, drag them around, mark them up with styles and links, then save it. With authentication for the editor - everyone else sees it as a readonly regular webpage. With all the current HTML features, viewable in IE/Firefox/Safari/Opera. That feature should have been part of the first (or at least second) wave of the Web. Is it part of this AJAX wave?
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @09:26AM (#13675249) Homepage
    If applications exist on the owner's server, and aren't installed and run locally, then how am I going to be able to pirate them?
  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @11:05AM (#13676147) Homepage Journal
    "Did you know there was AJAX word processor, AJAX spreadsheet, AJAX calendar, AJAX presentation-building software, AJAX e-mail client, AJAX note-taking software and some other interesting applications, which, deployed on your local server, do not need installation and "just work" in a browser window?"

    Let's see: word processor--didn't feel like signing up for an account. Spreadsheet--works in Firefox 1.0/Mac, but not Safari 1.3. Overall, has a long way to go--can't use arrow keys to move the active box in the grid, for example. And I doubt it's possible to recreate a zillion other useful features from a binary spreadsheet app, like dragging a cell's corner to fill lower rows. Calendar--wouldn't load at all in FF or Safari. Presentation--it's not AJAX. Email client--ha! instead of linking to Gmail, one of two programs that POPULARIZED AJAX (the other being google maps), the link leads to a nonexistant product from Yahoo. The note thing works but is pretty simple--feels like a bright student's DHTML project.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.

Working...