AJAX and Platform Independence

Everyone is hot for AJAX right now, in a world of web buzzwords and jargon “AJAX” has spread like a dancing hamster in 1999. Allowing a web page to send and retrieve data back to the server without a refresh sounds simple enough, but it’s creating a revolution in the way web sites work; search results show up as you type them, addresses are completed from a post code, tables of data magically sort themselves, most of which happens in an elegant, intuitive way. This is a real boon for web users and fans of nifty interface design, but what seems to have not been noted so far is that AJAX can allow a developer to create a web application that is completely platform independent.

The client side code can run completely independently from the server side in a way that just wasn’t possible before. Client side AJAX calls can pass requests back to the server, and then format and display the results as needed. This means that with a little bit of design, the back end functionality can be developed ass a pure data gateway – making it trivial to create the web application with .NET, JSP, PHP anything! To move a web app to a new platform involves just copying the client side files (the html, .js and .css bits), and then recreating the simple data processing parts in whatever language is required. Which sounds a bit like the old CGI days, what goes around comes around I guess.