Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Michael Kanasoot, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

A Cup of AJAX? Nay, Just Regular Java Please

The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page

These days everyone is talking about AJAX. It’s supposed to be a cool way of creating Web applications.

The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it’s much better to send an asynchronous request that will  get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only? ) example where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I’m a little sick of these examples). Since I’m not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I’d like to see some real-world examples implementing  this technology.  Ajax proponents will immediately come with this exciting example of how great it is to refresh some  screen info as the user enters character in a text field. And here's  a sample conversation that might have happened between an imaginary  AJAX supporter and myself.
  •  See, I’m just typing the letters of the person’s name and it prompts me with all potential candidates like in Microsoft Outlook
  •  Wow! I like it… as long as you do not have to be a rocket scientist to program this functionality. But wait a minute, do not you think that any entry level Visual Basic/PowerBuilder/Java programmer can do the same thing easily? AJAX applications have to rely on JavaScript, assume the expert knowledge of this not-so-interesting language, different Web browsers may give you different serious issues, may not even always report the problems in communication between you browser and the server, yada-yada-yada..   
  • Yeah, but we want this functionality under the Web browser.
  • But what about using Java Web Start (JWS) to launch the full-fledged Swing clients? They can easily process events, work the same way under each operational system?
  • Yeah, but what if your users  do not have   the JVM?
  • But JWS can download it automatically for you.
  • Yeah, but what if you are Google, Amazon or EBay and want to have a very thin client.

OK, now we’re talking.  I can agree that big Internet guys can and should invest some serious dough into supporting screen-refresh-on-mouse-move in HTML-based screens. But when it comes to a regular Intranet business application,  when the users/browsers/platforms are known and  when the  cost of the project development matters, I’d stay with a fat client written in Java, or (if you like a fancy GUI)  Adobe  Flex.

Many vendors  are happy to offer you a tool to simplify AJAX development, because it’s the right momentum to do so. But development is just the beginning. What about production support? I have a gut feeling that starting an Ajax project is like one way street: it won't be easy to  go back. The users will be more and more demanding, and you'll be spending  most of your time on adding more bells and whistles to the GUI instead of solving  business problems.

Today's  Business Week has published a surprisingly shallow article called "Java? It's so Nineties".  First, a former Sun's employee explains that LAMP is the way to go. After that they say that the number of published books in Java is 4% off this year while sales of AJAX books is up 68%. Sure, if last year there was just one AJAX  book and now there are three of those, we can even talk about 200% increase.

Having said all this, I have to admit that I also include the talks on AJAX in my Weekend With Experts seminars, because it’s a buzzword and people want to hear about it, but as of today, I’m not going to invest my time in mastering this technology. I’m staying with the good old Java.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

Comments (18) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
rdgflex 06/30/09 12:22:00 AM EDT

I was amused when AJAX came out, as though it was some great invention to be able to finally perform asynchronous calls. Before it was called AJAX (pre Windows SP2 days before they put the security screws on x-frame scripting), I was doing the same thing. All that was needed were several invisible HTML frames, making multiple web service calls, directing each web service response to a different invisible frame, and then have the returned contents load itself (via JS, inserted into the returned HTML that was server side rendered by XSLT) into the visible display area. Now, people put a name (AJAX) on an old set of tool with a new API and think they've got the latest and greatest.

R. Grimes

paulm 12/12/06 09:06:34 AM EST

Jakov,
I had the same opinion as you until I found Echo2.
Now I can program in old plane Java but have it displayed in the Web browser window.

JDJ News Desk 12/02/06 07:26:28 AM EST

The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it's much better to send an asynchronous request that will get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only?) examples where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I'm a little sick of these examples). Since I'm not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I'd like to see some real-world examples implementing this technology.

David Small 11/28/06 04:19:20 PM EST

SWING's GUI is only has an advantage as deep as their widgets toolkit. As AJAX widget/libraries build-out and standardize that advantage will disappear. To a large extent that has already happened. Currently, I spend more time working on my business/data layer than my AJAX layer. This runs counter to Yakov assertion that I'm bogged down in GUI work.

Plus, I don't have to worry about getting my user base on-board with downloading a JVM they may or may not want on their local machine.

Yakov 11/15/06 10:15:47 AM EST

Mike,

Yes, this was an old article. I feel the same about Ajax being not a good choice for business applications. My today's choice is Adobe Flex as a front end for server-side Java applications. Swing is too complicated for deployment and too expensive for development.

You can find my Flex-specific articles and links to presentations at our company's blog: http://flexblog.faratasystems.com

Mike Addesa 11/15/06 07:04:42 AM EST

I am curious about the timing of this article. It looks like it was posted in Yakov's blog in December of '05, but was published on this site in October '06. Given the pace at which technologies seem to move these days I wonder if Yakov feels the same now as he did 10 months ago?

j j 09/27/06 07:25:15 PM EDT

The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it's much better to send an asynchronous request that will get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only?) examples where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I'm a little sick of these examples). Since I'm not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I'd like to see some real-world examples implementing this technology.

Colorado HomeFinder 06/14/06 12:54:12 PM EDT

Have a look at this real world example of GWT, Google's AJAX web toolkit:
http://www.cohomefinder.com/Colorado-mortgage.htm

Our GWT mortgage calculator is a simple application we are using evaluate the GWT framework. We are documenting the steps to get this up and running and providing source on Dan Moore's blog:
http://www.mooreds.com/weblog/

Mike 04/28/06 05:01:37 PM EDT

I have to agree with this 100%, but I'd like to add that in response to the worries about people not having java, or statements about the ubiquity of javascript I started hunting around for stats about browsing statistics. Found a couple of sites, (banner ad suppliers), that published that sort of info and found that indeed, the Ajaxistas were right, Javascript was available and usable in somewhere around 94-96 percent of browsers, whereas Java was available in between 93.5-95.5 percent of browsers...I think I'll stick with java after seeing those sorts of statistics! ;)

Yakov Fain 04/19/06 06:18:43 PM EDT

LCB,

I can agree with your statements regarding Web Start. I would not suggest JWS for Amazon and other applications that are used by thousands of customers. Try not to miss the article on RIA development with Flex and Java that will be printed in May's issue of JDJ. You'll see not so trivial application written with minimal code. You'll see a good example of a public facing application (I'm sure that the public won't mind pressing the button and to download a Flash player)

LCB 04/19/06 05:13:02 PM EDT

I prefer Swing - it is a lot easier to use and more robust.

However, even for Intranet apps, there are clients who just won't accept Webstart apps for various reasons. Those reasons, justified or not, are hurdles to acceptance and sales. The client says they want a web client for various reasons, won't be convinced otherwise - they get a web client if you want to sell your software to them. When it means half a million dollars in revenue, you don't just walk away.

And I can see some of their reasons as being halfway reasonable and applicable; security, maintenance, not wanting to have to hassle with deployment - whether they really apply or not to a Java Webstart app or not is debatable (for the most part they don't) but customers have their minds made up.

Then there is the public facing app - where companies want to have some subset of the applications facing outwards to the public. As an employee to a company I don't mind using Java apps that Webstart onto my desktop, but if I want to go do some banking business I want a webclient - and it is not just Google or Amazon who need this, it is auto parts stores, grocery stores, banks, credit unions, and many other small volume businesses.

AJAX, used where appropriate, and in moderation, can be helpful/useful. It is not the answer to all problems, it is just another tool - and I personally don't view it as such a big deal as many others seem to. But it is new, so all the hype that goes with something new gets attached to it. *sigh*

SYS-CON Belgium News Desk 04/11/06 07:17:01 PM EDT

The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it's much better to send an asynchronous request that will get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only?) examples where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I'm a little sick of these examples). Since I'm not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I'd like to see some real-world examples implementing this technology.

JDJ News Desk 04/11/06 03:35:52 PM EDT

The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it's much better to send an asynchronous request that will get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only?) examples where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I'm a little sick of these examples). Since I'm not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I'd like to see some real-world examples implementing this technology.

Steve Benfield 12/14/05 02:28:55 PM EST

>> But wait a minute, do not you think that any
>> entry level Visual Basic/PowerBuilder/Java
>> programmer can do the same thing easily?

First, entry level developers can't do much to begin with. But they can use tools--as can intermediate + advanced developers. So what you'll see growing around AJAX are tools and frameworks--in droves.

So, a better way to phrase the question is--can VB + PowerBuilder developers build their current apps *without* the tools they use--probably not. And even if they can, who wants to? It takes too long because hand-coding GUI is painful--something that is only for people that have too much time, bililng by the hour, or who have some very stringent functionality and/or performance goals.

So, yes, I believe these programmers can build AJAX applications--with the right tools + frameworks.

It is easy to say, just build it in Swing instead--but AJAX provides ubiquity across browsers with no special downloads--and its backend independent. So you're free to choose a backend language and server whether its Java, PHP, .NET, Ruby, etc. Today, AJAX techniques can cover maybe 80% of the client/server GUI apps you might want to build. I predict more in the future.

If you need to deliver apps to a mix audience--or you want to use a common set of programming techniques for your public and internal applications--then AJAX provides that. Any other downloadable medium does not although flash gets closer than anyone.

Full disclosure: I represent a company that provides ThinkCAP JX, an open source, J2EE-based AJAX development environment + framework.

--Steve Benfield
ClearNova

Baz Web Development: Ajax, FastCGI, Joomla 12/13/05 09:12:57 PM EST

Trackback Added: Ajax vs. Ordinary Java; Yakov Fain wrote an interesting article: A Cup of AJAX? Nay, Just Regular Java Please at SYS-CON DEUTSCHLAND.
I can agree that big Internet guys [Google] can and should invest some serious dough into supporting screen-refresh-on-mouse-move in HTML-ba...

SYS-CON Germany News Desk 12/13/05 02:20:18 PM EST

cup of AJAX? Nay, Just Regular Java Please
The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it's much better to send an asynchronous request that will get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only?) examples where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I'm a little sick of these examples). Since I'm not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I'd like to see some real-world examples implementing this technology.

JDJ News Desk 12/13/05 01:46:23 PM EST

A cup of AJAX? Nay, Just Regular Java Please
The idea is noble: instead of rendering an entire HTML page on each little change on the page, it's much better to send an asynchronous request that will get the data for you and refresh only the relevant portion of the screen. Every author writing on AJAX is giving the same (the only?) examples where this technology is being used: Google maps and email. (BTW, I'm a little sick of these examples). Since I'm not going to be helping Google in improving their maps, I'd like to see some real-world examples implementing this technology.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In this session, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, will describe how to revolutionize your architecture and...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, will analyze how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Pay...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
The world is at a tipping point where the technology, the device and global adoption are converging to such a point that we will see an explosion of a world where smartphone devices not only allow us to talk to each other, but allow for communication between everything – serving as a central hub from which we control our world – MediaTek is at the heart of both driving this and allowing the markets to drive this reality forward themselves. The next wave of consumer gadgets is here – smart, connected, and small. If your ambitions are big, so are ours. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jack Hu, D...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
The multi-trillion economic opportunity around the "Internet of Things" (IoT) is emerging as the hottest topic for investors in 2015. As we connect the physical world with information technology, data from actions, processes and the environment can increase sales, improve efficiencies, automate daily activities and minimize risk. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ed Maguire, Senior Analyst at CLSA Americas, will describe what is new and different about IoT, explore financial, technological and real-world impact across consumer and business use cases. Why now? Significant corporate and venture...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participa...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
2015 predictions circa 1970: houses anticipate our needs and adapt, city infrastructure is citizen and situation aware, office buildings identify and preprocess you. Today smart buildings have no such collective conscience, no shared set of fundamental services to identify, predict and synchronize around us. LiveSpace and M2Mi are changing that. LiveSpace Smart Environment devices deliver over the M2Mi IoT Platform real time presence, awareness and intent analytics as a service to local connected devices. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sarah Cooper, VP Business of Development at M2Mi, will d...
Thanks to widespread Internet adoption and more than 10 billion connected devices around the world, companies became more excited than ever about the Internet of Things in 2014. Add in the hype around Google Glass and the Nest Thermostat, and nearly every business, including those from traditionally low-tech industries, wanted in. But despite the buzz, some very real business questions emerged – mainly, not if a device can be connected, or even when, but why? Why does connecting to the cloud create greater value for the user? Why do connected features improve the overall experience? And why do...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.