For several years now I have been working as a Web Application Developer. I started out working with my friend Jeremy reverse engineering and hacking up a PERL driven flat file database application to create a jobs website for Colorado State University.

Soon enough ASP came along and I moved up to creating true database driven websites with Microsoft Access and VBScript. I did a few projects with those tools before I woke up and moved on to using a LAMP environment. It was a lot like developing in ASP except with, you know, actual error messages and a heck of a lot more support on the web.

You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard all about AJAX if you are a web developer. Most every other technology worker has heard of it by now as well and it has been taking the internet by storm. One thing I find amusing are all the articles and examples I read of people who try and reject the term AJAX to describe a technique that they have been using for some time. I think they’re just jealous they didn’t come up with a name first.

Now on the cusp of releasing my first fully fledged AJAX based web application I feel like I have enough background to offer some comments and criticism. One major red flag that comes up for me are the use of SPI’s (Single Page Interfaces) and search engine compatibility. How can something spider and index your site, and provide links pointing back to it if there is only one URL for dozens of pages of content?

The other thing I have concerns about is usability. Working for a University means I have to be much more sensitive my potential audience than a corporate developer might be. I’m sure that these issues will be addressed as the movement progresses.

I love the way this new application feels. It’s so responsive and, well, it’s just cool. I wish I could share it with you but it handles confidential data. Once I got the hang of the mechanisms for communication the doors opened up and everything just got easy. If any of you are curious, here are some links that got me on the road to AJAX bliss.

Great PHP/MySQL AJAX Tutorial

Detailed Description of the XMLHTTPRequest Object
More XMLHTTPRequest Object Goodness
Working Examples of AJAX Applications
XMLHTTPRequest Usability Article
XMLHTTPRequest Wiki