Monday, October 20, 2008

15 Days: Fictional Technologies

I've mentioned that Groupthink uses Ajax and that I built my first web service using it in 1997. But, despite the fact that the X in Ajax stands for XML, I'm not using it now and I didn't use it then (back then, JSON didn't exist yet, so my format was proprietary).

You might think this is strange -- how can I say that I was using Ajax when I'm not using XML. And, how can I say I was using Ajax before the term even existed? Well, in a large sense, Ajax doesn't really exist -- just like Web 2.0 and, before that, DHTML. They're all fiction. Ajax represents some common techniques for building dynamic applications in a web browser. Web 2.0 has come to represent a certain style of dynamic applications. DHTML, well, that's just writing programs in a browser. In a way, it's all like art -- people know it when they see it.

But, in this case people actually means developers. Real people -- real users -- could care less about any of this. They just want their problems solved. They don't want pain. And they don't care about the technology, especially technology that's more of a branding exercise than anything else. I picked the technologies I'm using because I think that they are my best best for solving problems and eliminating pain points, not because I want to tout them on the web site. I'm trying to satisfy people, not just other developers.

All that said, today, I was able to run my first real Ajax queries -- whatever you want to call them.


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