Oct 29 2008

Is The Future of Ajax In Any Danger?

Posted by Mike Brunt at 10:55 AM ColdFusion | JRun-J2EE

I read a compelling article today from Joel Spolsky.  It revolves around Internet Explorer 8 and web standards, which as Joel Spolsky contends are more of a nice theory than a reality (standards that is).  What really stuck in my mind is the complete mess that Google Maps becomes when viewed in IE8 with strict standards applied.  In addition, I have hit so many web sites with JavaScript errors it is not funny and IE8, in; let's call it strict web standards mode, would render so many sloppily coded web sites unusable.

My headline is not meant to be attention grabbing but this all makes me wonder about the long term effects and whether this makes Flex a safer option for RIA's than Ajax?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?



Marin wrote on 10/29/08 3:20 PM

<cite>let's call it strict web standards mode, would render so many sloppily coded web sites unusable. </cite>

well that's the point of IE8's possibility to switch rendering mode: if your code is full of IE proprietary code (hopefully it's just locked intranets), it will still work in IE8 (with the X-UA-Compatible meta tag).

For the rest not a problem if the code was hacks free.

One other reason to stick to standards
Chad Lung

Chad Lung wrote on 10/29/08 5:58 PM

Interesting... It might be safe to assume Microsoft wants Javascript/AJAX rich websites to be basically broken so people toss up their hands and move to Silverlight which they have much more control over rather than the wild west of HTML/Javascript/AJAX. That leaves the Flash Player and Silverlight contending head-to-head in the RIA space. Basically a repeat of the browser wars in the 90's but this time between Adobe and Microsoft.

I haven't used IE8 so I haven't run into the issues you've seen. I think I'll load IE8 into a virtual machine and test it out on a few sites. I'd really hate it if GWT powered sites would break under IE8...
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 10/29/08 6:08 PM

@Marin thanks for commenting and I am with you 100% regarding sloppy code. I am far from a good developer and spend most of my time in the heart of things, the JVM etc. Having said that I began coding in HTML back in 1993-4 and it never occurred to me not to close out tags and I am still the same in that respect. This Joel Spolsky article is so informative in my opinion.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 10/29/08 6:14 PM

@Chad thanks for your comments, you make an interesting point that I had not considered regarding SilverLight. It seems it could be more difficult to mess up Flash based RIA's without being nastily overt about it however it seems that Ajax-JS-DHTML could be disadvantaged more easily.

Whatever we might think it seems like the time for stricter adherence to good coding practices is ever more compelling. I was shocked by the appearance of Google maps in that Joel Spolsky piece.
Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts wrote on 10/29/08 7:11 PM

I could be wrong but think Google Maps is highly optimized so very dependent on browser versions.

If anything I think this will push people more and more to abstraction layers for building browser based UIs that still run in html/js. With the huge performance improvements in browsers it is getting to the point where browsers may simply be html/js based runtimes for other language/dev environments. Check out Cappuccino.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 10/30/08 6:38 AM

@Dan thanks for your comment, how do you see Cappuccino in comparison to Adobe AIR and/or Google Gears?
Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts wrote on 10/30/08 1:33 PM

As far as I'm aware, Cappuccino is an in-browser javascript GUI framework so relies on external services to persist data to the server or to the desktop by using AIR or Google Gears.

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