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Two distinct approaches to Ajax application development emerged in recent years, each extending previous architecture models. As the two seem incompatible, you will need to make a choice.
Because the JSF-based Ajax approach performs all rendering on the server, and encapsulates Ajax features into components, it seems to be an extension of thin-client computing, and is thus a direct descendent of traditional Web apps that render simple HTML on the server and then push that rendered component representation—HTML—out to the client. A more remote cousin of this approach is the Sun Ray thin client device that renders desktop images on the server, and pushes the rendered images to dedicated client devices. In both cases, the client is treated not much more than as a specialized display. The second approach, by contrast, is an extension of client-server computing that distributes an application's logic between client and server—only, in the Ajax world, the client is a programmable Web browser.
Client side proponents claim that their approach makes better use of local computing resources, and also results in applications that can replace traditional desktop applications, even without a permanent network connection (for example, Dojo, as well as Flex, have client-side storage APIs).
Which approach would you choose, and why?
|Frank Sommers is a Senior Editor with Artima Developer. Prior to joining Artima, Frank wrote the Jiniology and Web services columns for JavaWorld. Frank also serves as chief editor of the Web zine ClusterComputing.org, the IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing's newsletter. Prior to that, he edited the Newsletter of the IEEE Task Force on Cluster Computing. Frank is also founder and president of Autospaces, a company dedicated to bringing service-oriented computing to the automotive software market.
Prior to Autospaces, Frank was vice president of technology and chief software architect at a Los Angeles system integration firm. In that capacity, he designed and developed that company's two main products: A financial underwriting system, and an insurance claims management expert system. Before assuming that position, he was a research fellow at the Center for Multiethnic and Transnational Studies at the University of Southern California, where he participated in a geographic information systems (GIS) project mapping the ethnic populations of the world and the diverse demography of southern California. Frank's interests include parallel and distributed computing, data management, programming languages, cluster and grid computing, and the theoretic foundations of computation. He is a member of the ACM and IEEE, and the American Musicological Society.