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Is there AJAX in my Ext3?

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Shane Coughlan
November 03, 2006

Shane Coughlan

My name is Shane Martin Coughlan, and I am spend my time bouncing between Ireland and the UK. My background is in political science, and my research ranges from globalisation through to cybernetic warfare.

I welcome conversation and networking. You can find me online at http://www.shaneland.co.uk

This article originaly apperared on the website of the Fellowship of the Free Software Foundation Europe. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

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I'm a bit of a dinosaur.  I was around at the end of the nineties when there was all the excitement about the dot.com boom, when AOL ate Time Warner, and when people were promising web operating systems running under Java.

Everything kind of went kablooey around 2001.  AOL suddenly were the junior partner in Time Warner.  Dot.com went to dot.bust.  Java was still slow.

“Gosh,” I thought, “how amazingly peaceful everything has suddenly become.”

The investors stopped getting hysterical about websites, the media focused on pornography instead of getting rich by buying domain names, and life went on.  The Internet matured a little and the services gradually got better.  Well, apart from Hotmail.  That got slower for some reason.


Web 2.0 came along.  Investors completely forgot about the dot.com craze (maybe because Web 2.0 is a different buzzword), and suddenly my digital life is noisy again.  Last night I found that straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.  I read an article about a convergence operating system ( http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/nov06/4696) and I almost sobbed out loud.

Boys and girls, we're back to hysteria.  Now, for one reason or another, AJAX and Web Applications are going to change everything we do.  The grass will be greener.  The coffee will be sweeter.  We'll get larger bonuses at the end of the year.

This is all very entertaining, but it's also a bit of a waste of time and energy.  We have so many important things that need to be fixed and improved, so many areas where we need to expand support.  Email clients need to be streamlined to remove the endless visual clutter and clunky interfaces.  Word processors need to get more net-aware.    I don't think we're going to accomplish all of this by throwing half a century of computing into the trashcan and hacking around Javascript pipelines.

Innovation is a wonderful thing but so is proven technology.  I'd like to see a little more balance between the two in the media sphere.

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