IL 2006: AJAX Workshop


AJAX Workshop
Presenters: Karen A. Coombs and Jason A. Clark

The browser is doing half of the work
Google Calendar, Meebo, Netvibes and Flickr, all AJAX based services, that I knew. And I knew that AJAX somehow is a miraculous coctail of Javascript and XML speeding up considerably the  interaction on a web page. No more re-freshing, haleluyah! But I didn’t know that, behind the scenes, the web browser on your own computer is doing half of the job, while the server is making only the other half. Thanks to that neither the server nor the PC needs to have a lot of strength to be able to deliver a fast service. Cool!

One of the interesting potential uses for AJAX is AutoSuggest. 
My comment: Think if the next version of a VR software like QuestionPoint had AJAX based Auto Suggest – based on a FAQ database – right inside the form where the users writes the question? Wouldn’t it be cool , thanks to this, to be able to answer (or at least give a hint) the patrons question even before he or she sends it away? 🙂

Potential problems
There is, of course, a backside of AJAX as well. Some examples:
– Javascript must be enabled
– Back button doesn’t always work
– Pages can be difficult to bookmark
– Search engines may not be able to index portions of an AJAX site
– Cross browser differences in how XML is dealt with

According to Karen, “MeeboMe is gonna revolutionize Virtual Reference”.
I definitely agree on that. Since I blogged about MeeboMe some weeks ago and also put up a MeeboMe widget on I have received a lot of feedback from library people indicating that many libraries will take into consideration using Meebome as part of their VR offerings.


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