January 1, 2006
@ 07:57 PM

Reading the blogs of Tim Berners-Lee and Jon Udell this morning, I was struck by how clear it is that the Javascript platform within the browser is somewhat immature and incomplete.

In his post Links on the Semantic Web Tim Berners-Lee writes

To play with semantic web links, I made a toy semantic web browser, Tabulator. Toy, because it is hacked up in Javascript
Here is the current snag, though. Firefox security does not allow a script from a given domain to access data from any other domain, unless the scripts are signed, or made into an extension. And looking for script signing tools (for OS X?) led me to dead ends. So if anyone knows how to do that, let me know. Untill I find a fix for that, the power of following links -- which is that they can potentially go anywhere -- is alas not evident!

In his post Predictions for 2006 Jon Udell writes

June 15: Browser local storage

An Alchemy application, though, always works with a genuine local data model that it stores as sets of XML fragments and navigates in a relational style. Bosworth's hunch is that a Web-style thin client, driven by a rich data model intelligently synchronized with the services cloud, could do most of what we really need -- both offline and online.
That's from a column entitled Thin client, rich data. The next turn of the AJAX crank has to involve an intelligent local data store. It's been on my wishlist forever, but Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich told me to expect results in 2006, so I do.

Almost everyone who has attempted building an AJAX application has hit the issues mentioned by Jon Udell and Tim Berners-Lee in their posts. Everytime I mess around with AJAX I can't help thinking how much more interesting the applications could be if I could offload the data aggregation/integration to the client browser instead of doing it on the server. I've thought the same about offline storage, why can't I store richer information than just cookie data on the local client in a cross-platform manner?

It's hard to get wrapped up in the AJAX hype when such fundamental holes exist in the functionality provided by modern web browsers. I hope Jon Udell is right and the Mozilla folks plan to fix some of the more fundamental problems with building AJAX applications on the Web today.