Next Buzz: Mobile AJAX

2005 was probably the most exciting year since 2000 for the Web, thanks to the thousands of new projects, most of them based on the usage of AJAX to create a new and compelling user experience. One interesting question for me, involved in mobile, is what will be the impact of this revolution for mobiles?

Well, seems that the Ajax buzzword will be in all mouth in the coming months, and Opera is already surfing on this.

Thirst thing, is do we need Mobile Ajax?

I think that with the generalisation of data network (GPRS,EDGE or 3G), the services will be more and more interactive. But the current technologies are far from providing a compelling user experience on mobile. Wap (or even HTML) applications look like ’99 Web app (for the best ones). So I believe that looking at what’s happening on the web, many people will provide these improvements to mobile, and this will be an improvement.

And one side note: Google local for mobile IS NOT a Mobile Ajax application (just like J2MEMAp). It’s just a monolithic application created for mobile, which can not be updated, or changed OTA (unless you reload it). I guess that I should define what I think is mobile Aj

So what are the various technologies available, or do we need new ones?

A first answer is to say that we already have one technology that could fit to Ajax requirement: be able to execute locally a small program downloaded remotely to add interactivity in “web pages”. J2ME (oh, sorry Mr Sun, JavaME) seems to be perfect for this. It’s a small bytecode, cross platform, web oriented, etc… However, J2me (in fact CLDC) failed in one important topic: the inability to download OTA some new byte code. So an application, once downloaded, can not be easily changed, modified, etc…. And even worst, you can not jump from one app to the other: from a calendar to the address book for instance. So if you want to do something great, you need to create a -relatively- big monolithic J2ME application. And I do not speak of security issue (see below).
One the other hand, there are plenty of advantage to J2me, and this could be a good candidate for being the scripting language for mobile Ajax application, or the framework basis for this, but it needs to evolve a lot if he wants to achieve this level.

One option (the one used by Opera) is to write a browser in J2ME who contains some Ajax component. Honestly, I did not take a deep look at the opera mobile (the J2ME version) right now, but I doubt that the have a scripting engine in this version…And what will we have at the end: an interpreted VM being able to run interpreted scripting language… And I am sure the several other initiatives are one the way.

The alternative is not numerous. Flash lite could be a candidate, but the first issue is the deployment: very few handsets yet have it right now. But technically speaking (and here, I am not a FlashLite expert) it seems that many of the J2ME limitation does not exist anymore, especially the one concerning the limitation of an application to one single binary. And probably the first truly mobile Ajax experiment will come from here.

But whatever is the option, I except a lot of buzz on this, conference, announces, etc for the second half next year! So let’s be ready for the Ajax wave on the mobile,….

Technocrati Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>