Sunday, October 30, 2005

AJAX - big whoop de doo...

I can't believe the amount of fuss being made over Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) at the moment. People have been communicating with the web server via pure Javascript for years now and they've been doing so with XML for a long time too. Just because someone coined an acronym for this "handy little trick", it's become all the rage now and big companies are funding projects in it's name. It's all further evidence that our industry is still plagued by hype and ineducation.

The educated among us will know that what's now handily termed as AJAX is just a nifty little trick that's been around for years. We also know that there are even more powerful technologies out there that are already mature, and they extend the functionality even further. Take XUL's RDF data binding for instance. Just so we can be cute too, let's call it XRDB (damn, that doesn't sound as sexy as AJAX - oh well, I don't work in marketing).

XRDB runs in a web browser and can also be scripted with JavaScript. In fact, scripting is not even required for the initial binding. I can just add a datasources attribute, which points to some RDF, to a container element. Then it's just a matter of declaring a template which will iterate over the RDF data. I can use JavaScript to reload (check for changes) my RDF datasource and I can add more datasources to merge data. All this without the need to run priverlaged code. You can "query" by adding get variables to the URL in your datasources attribute. If you MUST post, then by all means, use the http request functions in JavaScript.

When will people learn?

Here's an example of PHP generating RDF using XAO

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