Who needs these Ajax applications

OK. I might be the only one but I think people need to think beyond what is cool in Ajax. Take ajaxWrite for example. (BTW, it is worth reading Alex Russell‘s take on ajaxWrite from a pure Ajax perspective in his post titled ajaxWrong).

Here is the basic premise of ajaxWrite quoted below from their website (or other such applications sprouting on the web every hour):

  1. Global access, all you need is an internet connection
  2. Platform independent, you can use it with any operating system
  3. Automatic updates and upgrades, no more computer restarts or missed patches/updates
  4. Server side management — all the busywork is done for you

In many cases where we use a word processing application, we are operating from places where we don’t have an internet connection. Regarding platform independent, i couldn’t care less about it for a word processing application because most users have already chosen a platform (Windows or Mac or Linux or …) and aren’t likely to have multiple platforms floating around them at home or at work. While I can see the benefit of automatic updates and upgrades, it is not enough to convince me to abandon my favorite word processor. And as a user, who cares about server side management? I don’t have to worry about the server side management with my word processor because there is no friggin server! If I want free word processor, I would go for open source favorite Open Office which continues to improve with every release.

And now I see there is an ajaxSketch by the same developers. Same idea, different application, I can use it to generate an SVG diagram. Big deal. I like Gimp and Inkscape, and both are free and have a lot more features than ajaxSketch can ever incorporate.

Besides the obvious cool factor of rich applications on the browser, I need to know what is the business value of any such new applications. Can someone convince me that these applications have any value besides being toys to showcase what Ajax can do?

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Cofounder & CTO @ Chartcube.com

4 thoughts on “Who needs these Ajax applications”

  1. Brian,
    You are right. To be more specific, for general purpose graphics work, I like to use Gimp. And for vector graphics, I do like Inkscape. Both are awesome and like you said, depends what you want to use them for.

  2. Gimp cannot handle SVG. SVG is vector; Inkscape is the closest app to ajaxSketch. Gimp is a false comparison; it’s like saying that Illustrator is not as good as Photoshop: apples and oranges, depends on what you’re trying to do.

  3. Gadster,
    Looks like you want the Google Desktop real bad.
    Your points are well taken.
    thanks for your comments.

  4. Sigh. The manufacturers have created a global flock of happy laptop-luggers that are content to shoulder their products around, and be forced into buying the next rev every couple of years. No doubt this model is working as I see the hordes in airports and train stations hunched over their keyboards.

    I don’t want to lug equipment around. I walk fair-sized distances. I ride on a bicycle. I forget power cords and SecureID cards. I get rained on. I’m mobile and like it that way.

    I don’t want my state to be on a single point of failure disk spindle, mass produced for low-cost and low-reliability.

    I do want my state to be available wherever I am and I want it to be secure.

    I don’t want to bother with state backups.

    I don’t want to synchronize my state between multiple sources.

    Open Office? I don’t want to be a slave to the vicious download/install/maintain cycle.

    Open Office? I don’t use all of its options. I want the Ajax apps to offer a little more, but I don’t need too much.

    There’s no doubt at all that the laptop-lugging model works for a lot of people. It bothers me, however, that I’m forced into this mode of operation even if it doesn’t work for me. It is also annoying to see so many luggers working hours on platform and meta-issues (software updates, virus resolution, state synchronization, hardware incompabibilites, wireless failures, DHCP retries, solitaire, etc.) vs. using their equipment for the real business purpose it was issued to them for.

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