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Posted by davidrupp on May 23, 2005 at 7:23 AM PDT

Great. Just great. This is all I needed -- a technology that makes Javascript respectable.

When I was making the jump from mainframe assembler language to the wonderful world of Java (circa 1996), I, like every other Sun-worshiper, learned to sneer at the very mention of that monumental hack, Javascript. After all, it wasn't OOP, it was more like "oops!".

Now, almost 10 years later, I have to accept that I'm now playing catch-up to the rest of the right-thinking Internet world. You want to play Ajax, you have to play Javascript -- it's in the acronym.

So let's take a look at what I've been missing. Javascript, it says here, executes in a "Javascript-engine" that's baked in to my browser. Hmm. It's responsible for managing the presentation of the client side UI, event-handling, etc. 'kay. Ajax adds to that the concept of making a behind-the-scenes connection to the server to handle anything that can't be handled on the client side. Interesting. Now I hear there's a new concept in Javascript of a kind of "canvas" -- a generic component that will allow Javascript to! Whaddaya know.

Um, hello? Anyone ever heard of a little technology in Java called applets?! As far as I can tell, we've had the moral equivalent of Ajax available to us since the last century, and yet applets are now regarded with the same esteem as a sleepover at Neverland Ranch.

Where did we go wrong? The one key difference I can think of is that applets had the unfortunate requirement of needing to be loaded all at once. It's the "asynchronous"-ness of Ajax that's permitted it to evolve into the high-flying eagle of the Internet, while applets have sunk into the AWTar pit with the other dinosaurs.

Grumble. To quote the immortal Garth Algar: "We fear change."

To be continued...