On 00:20 Sun 27 Feb     , James Britt wrote:
> Jamis Buck wrote:
> >
> >Innapropriate or not, it's certainly easier to talk about "Ajax" than
> >"that technique that uses XMLHttpRequest to send asynchronous requests
> >to the server via Javascript without having to reload the page."
> >That's the point, I think--not that something new has been discovered,
> >but that a label has been given to that thing to make it easier to
> >discuss. I'd even go so far as to posit that the reason Ajax has taken
> >so long to really start gaining attention is because there's not been
> >an easy way to talk about it.
> >
> >Think about design patterns. Most people agree that these are good
> >things. However, most of these patterns are not new--it's just that
> >they've recently been given names to facilitate discussion about them.
> >
> >When you give something a name, you can define and then hide an entire
> >host of assumptions behind it. That's where the value comes from.
> 
> That's also were the problems come in, too.  In the case of design 
> patterns, many people have the habit of using the short-hand name as a 
> stand-in for real understanding.   Different people may have different 
> takes on the Foo pattern, but they don't realize they are talking past 
> each other because they both assume the other people  use the term the 
> same way as they do.

I agree. The name is not a replacement for real understanding, but no
matter *what* you call it, people can (and will) misunderstand you.
It's just the ambiguous nature of natural language.

> "Ajax" carries an important assumption: XML.  But, despite the name, 
> XMLHttpRequest can send any text you like.  It is often more appropriate 
> to use, say JSON, or unformatted text.  While some might argue that the 
> term is meant to encompass more than just the use of XML, the very name 
> tends to to encourage people to make what could be suboptimal choices, 
> choices that that would be better served by thinking about each of the 
> technologies involved.

I disgree that the term "Ajax" assumes XML. True, the acronym that it
was formed from includes XML, but the name itself is less XML-specific
than XMLHTTPRequest--the other term people use to describe this
technology.

True, Mr. Garrett's particular definition ties Ajax to XML. In that,
I take issue with his article. But the fact that he's given the
technique a simple, easy-to-remember (and easy to pronounce!) name is
a huge step forward, IMO.

I frankly don't care what term people use, as long as they define it
and it becomes widely used. Without a good definition, people will (as
you said) talk past each other. Without wide use, no one will know
what you are talking about.

"Ajax" is nice because it is well-defined, and it is gaining wider
usage. It is unfortunate--but not insurmountable--that Mr. Garrett's
definition includes XML. If enough people write about it and use it in
non-XML contexts, the term can eventually come to mean even non-XML
usages of the technology.

- Jamis

-- 
Jamis Buck
jamis_buck / byu.edu
http://jamis.jamisbuck.org
------------------------------
"I am Victor of Borge. You will be assimil-nine-ed."