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The Way Business Is Moving

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Issue Date: June 2005

Ajax programming takes off

1 June 2005
Andrew Seldon

Never mind the old static Internet interface, web browsers now offer rich interfaces - and SA is leading the change.
Over the years of using the Internet, we users have become accustomed to the traditional Web application interface in which each change to the interface requires a newly downloaded piece of HTML code. And, although most intelligently designed Web pages are small and quick to load, this page-by-page methodology is slow and cumbersome.
When not on the Web, users are used to a graphical interface in which they can do numerous functions in the same interface without waiting for an update or a new download from the server. Fortunately, this type of rich interface is appearing on a screen and in a browser near you.
Called Ajax programming (see definition below), Cedric Keown, MD of Intrepid Solutions, says this is the next level of programming technologies the world is migrating to. "Web application developers will now be able to provide enormous functionality in a single interface," he says. "They will be able to provide users with interfaces similar to those we find in Windows applications, although it will be delivered via the Internet in a browser."
Never mind the old static Internet interface, web browsers now offer rich interfaces – and SA is        leading the change
Never mind the old static Internet interface, web browsers now offer rich interfaces – and SA is leading the change
He adds that advances in browser technologies, such as DHTML, Javascript and XML have made Ajax possible. Intrepid develops and sells an Internet-based development environment called Portico, designed to develop highly functional Web applications (Ajax applications) straight from a Web browser.
Portico allows developers to work from any location and develop for customers anywhere in the world on any server in the world, via a browser. It provides the usual development components, such as menus, toolbars, datagrids, tabsheets, as well as a host of other controls normally found in IDEs.
"Portico leads the pack when it comes to creating Web-based applications in terms of ease of use and versatility in building Dynamic HTML applications," says Keown. "Portico may be run from a browser, but it is in no way underpowered when it comes to creating business applications.
"The product is designed to allow companies to do more with less, without having to hire high-priced programming gurus. As such, Portico is perfectly suited to the up and coming South African programming market, enabling local developers to create applications conforming to global standards without leaving home or having to invest enormous amounts in software toolsets."
Defining Ajax
Source: http://www.adaptivepath.com/publications/essays/archives/000385.php
Ajax is not a technology. It is really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:
* Standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS.
* Dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model.
* Data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT.
* Asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest.
* JavaScript binding everything together.


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