Why Ajax

From MemberWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Traversing the Ajax Landscape

An executive guide for developing an Ajax application Strategy



a. The Open Ajax Alliance has already seen a massive rise in the interest and adoption rate of Ajax in multiple industries and across multiple types of applications. We are convinced that Ajax (RIA) is on the path to become the defacto interface for all web based applications, yet for any single enterprise justifying a new user interface approach for one application or for the entire enterprise is a complex task. Ajax has come to include many dozens of specific solutions and many approaches to those solutions creating a multi facteted business and technology question for every enterprise. This paper is meant to provide the IT executive with guidleines on how to approach the question of if and how an organization should look at adopting Ajax.

b. In other terms, the original Open Ajax alliance whitepaper focus was primarily on “what is Ajax?” this paper was created to address the more complex question of “Why Ajax? Or “what is the business justification for implementing Ajax?”

c. This paper poses a framework to examine the core question of why Ajax? The framework consists of analyzing three dimensions to determine an appropriate strategy

i. The first dimension is to examine and assess the application characteristics and requirments

ii. The second is to map the application to classes of Ajax solutions

iii. The third dimension is to assess needs versus the organizations strengths and developmental needs.

What is Ajax?

a. Dynamic and continuous user experiences

b. Ajax-powered user experience

c. Desktop-like user interfaces

How Ajax Changes the application

In the initial whitepaper the Alliance addressed many of the qualities of an Ajax application and what was possible. Such characteristics seem highly valuable yet their description alone does not create a business decision framework, ROI or approach to deciding whether or not to proceed with an Ajax application.

a. lower bandwidth

b. Next-generation applications (Web 2.0 and RIAs)

c. Replacement for desktop applications

d. The runtime companion for SOA

e. Mashups, dashboards and other composite applications

f. Collaboration

g. Ajax-powered wikis

h. Cross-device applications (desktop and mobile)

What is the business value of Ajax?

a. more interactive and productive interaction

Ajax is all about ways to create a more interactive and productive interaction between a user and a web based application. In short it’s about how to deliver information to end users in a way that is more productive (easier to understand, delivered faster or in a more intuitive way) and for users to be able to communicate back to a host system more easily and effectively. Ajax breaks the traditional web interface where everything happens at the page level and nothing happens until the user requests information. Intuitively, its easy to understand that a highly interactive interface will bring significant benefits to any application, but at what costs and at what depth of investment?

b. real value add of Web 2.0

Ajax is now being talked about as the real value add of Web 2.0, the core capability for delivering SOA, mash-ups and highly collaborative and other web 2.0 applications. Whatever the structure or class of application, we Open Ajax Alliance believes that there are core considerations to determine the value of implementing your applications.

c. upgrade of existing application or new application

The first level of assessment is to determine if the focus is to be on an upgrade of existing application or new application? Fortunately, Ajax techniques apply very well to most existing applications and can provide a very fast incremental improvement to an existing application which can also often be done in steps. The frame work we propose is equally valuable for upgrades to exiting applications and for new applications. In general, unlike many other technologies it is probably wise for a business to move into Ajax by selecting an existing web application or two as a basis for developing the needed skills and trying technologies as a low risk high reward project.

d. Mantras are not sufficient

We also believe that in this post boom era mantras supporting an intuitive approach, such as "essential to the business," "the results are too unpredictable" and "yields intangible benefits," are completely insufficient for today's upper-level decision-makers. Yet the fact is that most IT decisions are strategic, complex and differ from company to company. This paper attempts to define an analytic frame work for organizations to structure decisions on the degree with which they decide to introduce Ajax within an application and to some degree across the organization.

Assessing application characteristics and requirements

a. The Basics: Core interaction requirements

i. The number and frequency of full page requests that can be replaced with small data exchanges will reduce user wait time and improve productivity in a measurable way.

ii. High rate of error on full page inputs or a large number of full page inputs will benefit from the real time field level editing of Ajax.

iii. Bandwidth consumed for the entire task. Traditional interfaces can absorb large amount of bandwidth slow response times and eat cpus.

In short, the more the application is highly time dependent with many small interactions the ROI of Ajax increases.

b. The size of the user population

i. Ajax benefits both small and large user populations

ii. In general the larger the user population the greater the need for a framework that easily scales and can be readily maintained

c. Mission critical nature of the application

i. The greater the strategic value of the application, the greater the investment in RAS required.

ii. Highly mission critical applications may be less desireable early candidates, but offer the highest ultimate return.

d. Application architecture considerations

i. Ajax increases the feasibility of an effective SOA architecture.


e. Complexity of database interaction

i. Is the application tightly coupled to a backend database?

ii. To what degree is transaction integrity and recoverability critical?

iii. How tightly couple is the Ajax solution to the back end?

iv. How important is push technology

f. Real time nature of the underlying application

i. In general real time monitoring and realtime or near realtime business applications benefit significantly from Ajax.

Navigating the landscape of Ajax solutions

a. Snippets and widgets to fully integrated frameworks

i. Fast and flexible to more robust and manageable

b. Specialized IDE to industry standard IDE

i. Specialized skills vs existing skills

c. Client based to more server centric

i. Speed vs maintainability

d. Design of Server push capability

e. Degree of built in Security

f. Approach to scalability

g. Library of rich components

h. Interoperability with other solutions

i. Other??????


Ajax enables more fluid integration and a much richer experience at the user level. In general users will respond very positively to any thoughtful Ajax implementation.

That said, arriving at estimates of return is the most difficult challenge for IT managers and executives. Like other IT initiatives Ajax is a business project supported by IT, not the other way around. Therefore, ultimately the business is responsible for the ROI estimation. IT can support and even lead the effort by providing the proper questions that need to be asked of the business and helping generate the answers through interactive sessions and controlled experiments. A prototype with actual business data helps to generate the answers needed to estimate ROI. Also the establishment of a IT-User team to facilitate the business driving the direction of the Ajax effort can be a forum for confirming and refining ROI estimates.

Retrieved from "/member/wiki/Why_Ajax"
Personal tools