Thursday, August 21, 2008

WaveMaker in Top 10 Apple Downloads

WaveMaker was selected as a Staff Pick for the Apple download site, and broke into the top 10 Apple downloads today, edging out Google Earth for the tenth slot!

WaveMaker 4 features a Mac installer and the WaveMaker Ajax Studio runs best in the Safari browser (of course, to be fair, almost everything that runs in a browser runs best in Safari). 

WaveMaker's visual studio lowers the learning curve for building Ajax apps and greatly increases productivity over traditional hand-coded Javascript web clients.

WaveMaker uses a Model-View-Controller approach to building Ajax web applications, making it an ideal tool for developers who are familiar with Apple's xCode development tools (or any other visual development tool for that matter).

WaveMaker was also written up on the MacNN web site as a one stop shop for developing web applications. MacNN also particularly taken by how WaveMaker democratizes the development of web applications:
The folks at WaveMaker think big, calling their Visual Ajax Studio 4.0 web app development tool "a fundamental breakthrough" -- and they may just be right. In a demonstration for MacNN it took about three minutes to build a simple database web app -- something that traditionally takes a team of developers to manage the complex weaving of web and server functions. This could be especially good news for the growing number of Mac Developers, since WaveMaker is browser-based.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I recently read a good article on how Apple is fighting the drumbeat of proprietary browser plugins like Flash and Silverlight. Daniel Eran Dilger wrote a good article on how Apple's Sproutcore toolkit for JavaScript provides an alternative to flash for building rich internet applications. You can find out more about Sproutcore here. Daniel says:

Over the last year, I’ve outlined Apple’s efforts to starve Adobe’s Flash and AIR (and by extension, Microsoft’s me-too Flash plugin called Silverlight), at a time when pundits have insisted that Flash was a vital missing element on the iPhone and that Apple could/should/would be scrambling to port Flash to it. It might be a surprise to find that Apple’s air supply attack on Flash and its interest in dusting Windows with Cocoa are actually related.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Google Can Teach Ajax Developers

With Google Gadgets, Google has arguably pushed Ajax scalability and testing harder than any other single vendor. But that was only the beginning. Adam Sah, architect of Google Gadgets, has been experimenting with using Gadgets to display ads. In June, 2008, he gave a talk on this work for the Visual Ajax User Group.

Google Gadgets are XML files that run inside an iframe on your web page, complete with embedded Javascript. The XML file itself is divided into 3 parts: module preferences, user preferences and content (html with inline css and javascript). SEOish has a good Google Gadgets tutorial for Ajax Developers.

The next logical step for Google is inserting gadgets into Google's ad infrastructure - introducing rich content ads, such as ads that show pictures of things for sale. Rich media also allows advertisers to combine branding with lead generation, giving them the best of banner ads and click-through ads.

Google gadgets themselves represent an interesting proving ground for Ajax technology. Incorporating Google Gadgets into adsense takes Ajax to a whole new level. Adam described "unpausing" an Ajax ad without the proper infrastructure in place as "a very fast way to do a denial of service attack on yourself."

Here are some of the lessons learned from working in the high volume world of Google Gadget ads:

  1. Relevancy trumps latency. Rich ad widgets can make multiple Ajax calls and take ten times longer to load (sometimes several seconds), but get a much higher click through rate. In a nutshell, this is why Web 2.0/Rich Internet Apps/Ajax are taking over from the old internet - people are willing to wait for content that is more relevant and interactive.
  2. Context is difficult. Because syndicated ads live in their own isolated iframes, it is hard to create context-aware ads. Of course, having a good WYSIWYG Ajax tool to build iframe applications could help!
  3. Scalability is a challenge. Every ad impression hits a database, so going live with an Ajax ad on a high volume site creates a huge amount of database traffic. This is even worse for ads which have a number of images. On the other hand, the size limit for a Google Gadget is 50K, which at least sets an upper limit on the damage you can do.
  4. Testing is difficult. When ads are created on the fly, it is literally impossible to test all combinations of content, browsers and interaction.

With Google Gadgets, a developer can create a Google ad that includes images and interactivity. The ad publisher gets to define what a "click" means within their gadget. Their incentive to cheat is low because if they don't have a way to measure clicks, they will never win a bid!

Adam also gave a good perspective on how Google fights the proprietary web (what Alex Russell calls the unweb) - with Gadgets and standards! People choose proprietary solutions when good open alternatives are not available. Google is trying to make it so easy and cheap to work with open standards that proprietary standards lose their appeal.