Thursday, March 23, 2006

ajaxLaunch? Eh.

You know what? I was writing a really scathing review of Michael Robertson's ajaxLaunch and its first application, ajaxWrite.

I was going to lament how he started off with a really cool premise, gotten my hopes up for a cross-platform Steam-like content distribution system, but then failed me with a lackluster AJAX application that only worked in Firefox, was slow as molasses, and had a terrible file-handling system.

And then ajaxWrite crashed by my browser.

That's right. Your crappy web application crashed the very thing it was designed to run on.

Oh, but that's not all of the irony, you see.

Blogger's post editor is a bit of an AJAX application itself. For instance, every few seconds Blogger is making a copy of my post for safe-keeping, in case I get disconnected or something, right?

Oh, wrong. Because, you see, Blogger apparently can't tell the difference between a page crash and the user navigating away, so when I restore my web-browser, using the awesome Crash Recovery extension for Firefox, I'm greeted with an empty blog post. That's right. Nothing.

So, when ajaxWrite crashed--destroying any valuable work I might have been in the progress of creating with it--it also brought down the rest of the house, thus throwing the baby, the bath water, and most of the tub out the window.

No, I'm sorry. AJAX web applications are never going to replace desktop applications.

Applications like OpenOffice.

You know, the office suite that has a robust document recovery mechanism that ensures all your content does not belong to /dev/null?

Not at this rate.

Here's the best part. It is the most egregious thing of all:

ajaxWrite doesn't work in Internet Explorer because it apparently uses XUL. Look, I can understand that you might want to short-circuit a lot of work that XUL does for you. Hell, I'm all for it, I use languages like C#/Ruby/Boo just because they do a lot of the grindstone work for you. But when you start yammering about the web and interoperability and people not following standards, and then do this...

From ajaxLaunch's FAQ:
"ajaxWrite requires Firefox 1.5, or newer, browser. We are investigating extending ajaxWrite to other browsers such as Internet Explorer. Let us know your feedback on the forum."
What makes this really rib-crackin' funny?
"ajaxWrite is compatible with any operating system, Windows/Mac/Linux, but does require that you use a Firefox 1.5, or newer, browser."
Yeah, OK. Trade-in one form of vendor lockin for another. That's real, uh, heroic.

Coup d'é·tat right there, mofos.


It just gets better, though. I mean, we've got, which, fantastically enough, works in any standards compliant web-browser you've got, has a rich user interface, is a very responsive AJAX application...

This is easily the most disappointing thing I've ever seen come from Michael Robertson. The sad part is he really thinks this will replace Microsoft Office.

Man, you're starting to slip. Seriously starting to slip.

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