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Will "Mobile AJAX" Dominate Web 2.0?
Mobile AJAX Will Replace Both Java ME and XHTML, says Ajit Jaokar
By: Ajit Jaokar
May. 5, 2006 10:30 AM
In this article, which focuses on the impact of Ajax on mobile application development only (i.e. he does not discuss Ajax in general), SOA Web Services Edge speaker Ajit Jaokar contends that - since his e-mail, calendar and other applications are on the web, and he can store all my documents on the web, all he needs is a browser. "One client to rule them all! Thus, today I would use a ‘browser-only PC’," he adds.
Earlier this year, I published an article called AJAX for Mobile Devices Will Be the Hallmark of "Mobile Web 2.0" in 2006.
Special thanks go to Paul Golding for brainstorming some of the ideas in this article with me.
I did not intend to write a follow-up – but the response warranted one. Clearly, I had not explained some views in detail while other concepts were being misunderstood. I strongly believe that the disruptive potential of AJAX in the mobile space is not fully appreciated.
This article will clarify some of the views I expressed before and also add new insights.
In keeping with my original article, this article will focus on the impact of Ajax on mobile application development only (i.e. we are not discussing Ajax in general here).
In this article, we are going to discuss -
I welcome your comments at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com or use the Feedback form at the foot of the page here at ajaxworld. Please feel free to use sections of this article but you should acknowledge the source as http://ajax.sys-con.com/read/199481.htm and link back to the article.
Of Lawn Bowls and Long Tails
Consider the following scenario... Like most people, you were keenly following the Commonwealth Games as they were played in Melbourne. However, unlike most people, your favourite game is lawn bowling .
"Lawn what?" people ask you – since not many outside the Commonwealth have heard of your game. (For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wikipedia caustically lists your game under the category of ‘Sports held as a demonstration, or of which the Olympic status is disputable’ ). So, you are glad that your game is at least being played in Melbourne. But the coverage sucks! The sexy games like swimming, boxing and athletics get all the fame and the glory.
You explain your plight to the friendly neighbourhood geek – who explains something called a ‘long tail’ to you. Apparently, you are it!
In most situations, 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the products/services (depicted in red below). Thus, the remaining 80% of the products have low demand and low sales. These constitute the ‘long tail’ (such as lawn bowling). The principle of harnessing the ‘long tail’ argues that collectively, these low volume/low sales products can make up market share that equals or exceeds the few bestsellers – provided the distribution channel is large enough and the per unit production cost is low.
Now suppose we wanted to design a mobile application for the Commonwealth Games. The preparations would start many months ago. However, keeping the interests of your subscribers in mind, the designer would probably not focus much on the ‘lawn bowls’ section.
However, as a diehard lawn bowling fan, you want the whole works – blogs, polls, images, profiles, betting results and so on.
Can mobile web 2.0, Ajax and widgets help in this scenario? This article will show how.
The complete scope of this article is :
Can All Mobile Applications Be Implemented Using (Only) Browser Technology?
Before we start discussing mobile applications and Ajax, let us consider the question - Can all mobile applications be implemented using browser technology? In the PC/Internet world, the browser is fast becoming the universal client. However, there is a crucial difference between the PC world and the browser world.Before we start discussing mobile applications and Ajax, let us consider the question - Can all mobile applications be implemented using browser technology? In the PC/Internet world, the browser is fast becoming the universal client. However, there is a crucial difference between the PC world and the browser world.
In the PC world, we need one type of program to run a specific type of application (‘Word’ to view word documents, ‘Excel’ to view spreadsheets and so on). In contrast, we can use the browser to view any type of application (i.e. one client for many applications). This makes application development much more optimal and less susceptible to software running on the client(in this case the PC).
Following on - we consider the browser and mobile applications ...With higher spec mobile devices, greater bandwidth etc let us consider the hypothetical question: Can ALL mobile applications be implemented using browsing technology?
After all, the browser works well on the PC as a universal client – why not on the mobile device? A corollary to this question could be:
Let’s consider the second point first. To understand the differences between browsing on the web and browsing on a mobile device, we have to consider factors such as
There are other factors such as limited user input capabilities, screen sizes and so on. Some of the above factors are getting better (for example coverage blackspots are decreasing) – but the overall user experience remains one of the most important factors.
Thus, the answer to our hypothetical question is – No. We cannot develop all mobile applications using the browser only. However, as we shall discuss below, the architecture of browsing applications is changing and the distinctions between the browsing and downloading applications are not as clear cut as before.
On one hand, local and native applications offer the advantage of a better user interface. However, they suffer from some significant disadvantages - in that the application has to cover a diverse range of devices, operating systems, screen sizes, user interfaces, multiple software releases etc. This leads to fragmentation (see more details on the next page).
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