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Month: February 2005

Ajax and the Rennaissance

There’s been loads of buzz lately surrounding a set of web technologies which Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path recently named “Ajax.” Simply put, Ajax refers to the use of Asynchronous Javascript and XML in web applications to help speed and improve user experience by reducing page loads.

I got a chance to mess around with some of these techniques recently on my final project for my current employer. Even something as simple as a User Account Request form benefitted greatly from the implementation of this technology. When a user requests an account, if the username they’ve selected is already taken, they are notified as soon as their cursor moves out of the Username field. No submit required.

Some high-profile implementations of Ajax include power houses like Google’s Gmail, Google Suggest, and Flickr.

This new movement towards Ajax technologies and the excitement surrounding the implementations mentioned above have sparked a bit of a rennaissance in the web development field, at least in terms of the excitement some of us are feeling towards the future of web application development. Hello, Web 2.0!

Some Ajax Links:
Jason Fried warns developers to not forget the users in all the excitement over the technology
Drew McLellan walks us through an Ajax script (I should note that this is where I drew inspiration for my User Account Request page)
Apple’s Developer Connection on Dynamic HTML and XML
And, why not Google Search results for XMLHttpRequest
And if this all sounds somehow familiar, let’s call it DHTML ’05

coldfusion 7.0

I’m wondering if we’re maybe seeing the beginning of the end for ColdFusion, at least as Macromedia product? My inbox has seen a few messages about the new 7.0 release of CF, most of which contain all sorts of assertions from Ben Forta (“ColdFusion Product Evangalist”) that this is the most important release in a long long time. Now go to the website. There isn’t a single stinking reference to this big important release anywhere, unless you count the link to ColdFusion 7.0 buried in the products listing box.

Makes me wonder if MM is truly committed to the product. It looks like the big direction from the mothership is communication tools (Breeze) and CMS-style products (Contribute, Web Publishing System). I remember ranting and railing about Contribute when it first came out. I took the position that Macromedia was entering into direct competition with the developers who were building various CMS tools/solutions and I was PISSED. Probably comically so! Finally, I look at the big push on developing dynamic Flash applications using ActionScripting and Flex. There seems to be a lotta Flash tutorials on the site talking about connecting to data & business layers using PHP rather than CF…

Finally, I also take a bit umbrage at the assertions that CF 7.0 is the most important release in the past 10 years. Yes, there’s some nice new reporting tools and some keen “native” tie-in’s to Flash and such, but does anyone remember the huge leap forward that MX provided in terms of Components and XML tools?

R.I.P, ColdFusion, and thanks for a fun ride. I’m almost out…

It’s a Canadian Thing (or not?)

Good post (and ensuing discussion) on Mezzoblue about how Canadian sites handle Language considerations. Many, including of course all Federal Government sites and some commercial sites like Future Shop, prefer to party like it’s 1999 and opt for a Splash page, while others, like HBC choose to arbitrarily present one language by default (usually English), allowing the user to switch. Air Canada has a slightly different approach (Note the ghetto-style browser warning that doesn’t recognize Firefox as being as capable as Netscape 7) and still others, like will present a splash, but it’s more a main level nav in both languages… a touch more useful than just two buttons.

Some great discussion here, especially from developers in countries with more than two (and in the case of Africa, up to 11) official languages. Now that’s a challenge.

Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005

Hunter S. Thompson was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound yesterday. Thompson’s brand of Gonzo Journalism won him much respect and adoration in his 67 years. Goodnight, good doctor…


Ok, not exactly fired. But my current employment arrangement will be coming to a close at the end of March. So, if you’re looking for an experienced ColdFusion developer who loves Web Standards, is rock solid with CSS, knows some PHP, and is a very enthusiastic and quick learner, have a look at my resume(soon to be updated), and get in touch.

Why Wilco is the future of music

Tweedy of Wilco, in a conversation with Lawrence Lessig:

“Music,” he explained, “is different” from other intellectual property. Not Karl Marx different – this isn’t latent communism. But neither is it just “a piece of plastic or a loaf of bread.” The artist controls just part of the music-making process; the audience adds the rest. Fans’ imagination makes it real. Their participation makes it live. “We are just troubadours,” Tweedy told me. “The audience is our collaborator. We should be encouraging their collaboration, not treating them like thieves.”