While I blogged the second day of the AJAXWorld conference, intermittent WiFi connections and my own business needs prevented me from getting much of it posted. Here’s the recap of all but my own presentation at the conference, which I will be posting shortly:
Tony Pirisi, President, Media Machines
Wednesday, October 4, 4pm
I spent more time focusing on the presentation than blogging on it, so I can’t give you a blow-by-blow of the slides, but nonetheless I think this is a company worth paying attention to. Media Machines produces the Flux player, a 3D rendering engine that utilizes X3D, the 3D XML successor to the VRML language specification of the 1990s. I’ve long felt that X3D had a significant future, especially when tied into pipeline flow architectures that XML seems to work with so well, but there have been few advantages in playing with it. Check out the Flux player, an X3D plugin for both IE and Firefox, and the AJAX3D.org site for more information about integrating X3D with your AJAX projects.
Why Browsers (still) matter
Hakon Lie, CTO Opera
Wednesday, October 4, 5pm
Lie started with a number of slides showing the beauty of CERN and the Switzerland area around it
Then goes to the CSS Zen Garden site.
- He bemoans the lack of C (i.e., CSS) in AJAX - recommends AJACS (rather tongue in cheek).
- Opera makes a browser (author note: a very good one) , 10 mil desktop users, 30 mil mobile devices, more than 5 million Opera Mini Users, 500,000+ My Opera Community Users
- Mobile Web Applications -
- He also looks at Opera Widgets, a very nice set of functionality to do stand-alone components from within Widgets.
- Supported and upcoming Web Standards
- Scalable Vector Graphics
- 3D Canvas - including support for OpenGL
- Acid2 - Specification compliance test systems
- Web Fonts
Meeting Dr. Lie was a privilege that I’d long wanted to do, so it was good to talk with him afterwards about Opera and their long term plans. I have said before in this column that I consider Opera’s browser, especially the 9.0 implementation, to be solid, well-built, feature rich while still maintaining good standards compliance, and in general browsing done right. My meeting with its CTO has only reaffirmed that impression, and I think Opera’s future is indeed very bright.
This was one of the best conferences that I have been to in a long time. I had a chance to talk with Jeremy Geelan, Senior VP of SYS-CON and the prime mover for this particular conference - 800 people showed up for a convention that was expecting 500, with some major names from across the spectrum of AJAX and web development. A Ruby on Rails track went on pretty much independently of everything else, the Ruby devs happily discussing the AJAX aspects of that particular language, while others talked about everything from mobile devices to enterprise security to architecture. It was a conference where the decisions for which panel to attend were seldom easy, and sometimes agonizingly hard. I unfortunately could catch only a small portion of the whole, as I also had my own business to conduct at the conference at large.
What can I tell you about AJAX? It’s a young programmer’s sport, though there were a few of us graybeards in attendance as well. Most recognize that there is more to it than cool widgets and mashups, and words like corporate and enterprise did of course fall like rain - this is Silicon Valley after all - but nonetheless there was a certain intriguing gleefulness to the participants that said that this was not only important but also fun, a rare enough combination in the sometimes merciless pressure cooker of cutting edge Internet technologies.
My own feelings on AJAX are simple - its an interrim stage, an ephemeral one, though what’s on the other side of that stage is something that’s considerably more ambiguous. I see it as XML Bindings, which keep the abstraction layers clean while also providing a modicum of security and ease of use (see my own transcripts here for more information about this) but technology has a way of tripping you up, of never quite giving you what you expect even as what does emerge is even stranger than you can imagine. So, it will be worthwhile to see what will be…
Kurt Cagle is an author and technology evangelist who lives in Victoria, British Columbia.