Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Open AJAX Consortium Looks to Ease Development

One of the interesting points that Laszlo Systems CTO David Temkin makes in this interview is the relative lack of good UI developers out there, specifically in the J2EE realm. I think he's correct in stating that a good J2EE developer tends to be proficient more on the server side than on the client. And maybe that's because there's relatively much less Java code actually involved in the display when you're talking about a web application - witness the rise of Ajax. Also, a good UI developer has to be so much more than just a software engineer. A good UI developer needs to be part psychologist, part designer in the pure sense, part artist, part engineer, a users' advocate (gasp), and extremely detail-oriented. On top of that, a good J2EE UI developer probably needs to work well in other technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, XML/XSL, and even Flash. True, these are not so much of a technical stretch compared with J2EE technologies, but it is a bit of a stretch to expect the same person to be truly exceptional in all of the technologies (jack of all trades, master of none).

The one thing that catches my attention most about Ajax splashed across, developerWorks, and TheServerSide is that these same people were touting XP not very long ago. And granted, I understand that these folks must live on the edge. But I find it so interesting that we've shifted from test driven development and best-practices to getting something out the door quickly. And a "something" which isn't based on a standard framework (as this article points to), can't easily be unit tested, has very little tool support, and actually isn't even grounded in Java!

I'm excited about these developments but I'm also interested in watching how they play out with Windows Vista and XAML lurking around the corner.

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