5/07/2006

AJAX'ed

AJAX is one of those concepts that turned into a rage after people started giving it a name. It was there in the 90's, people used it in different forms, but it's visibility and recognition as an "all encompassing" solution has been very recent(Well, in 2005 :)). It is funny to see it rise to such heavenly standards because it has always been there in the form of invisible i-Frames, right from the 90's. Popularity can really do wonders. It earned a million dollars to the guy that came up with themilliondollarhomepage.com. People really bought a pixel of web space for a dollar! Nothing can beat that! Acceptance, Adoption and Benefit Realisation can make a concept into a rage!

Btw, I just finished adopting the Ajaxian philosophy/ideology for a project of mine. We have a web page (a reports page) that scours our database that has millions and millions of records that comes up with a "summary" report. A summary report for that many transactions is bound to take some time! For us, it was indeed taking a lot of time, almost an hour. Marketing was running the report and they were ok with the response time as this task was only done "once in a month". The problem was that the "web request" timed out irrespective of whatever configuration you had for the web application. I can only blame our webserver for not being able to handle these "big requests"!
However, we found a cure for the ailment :) ...AJAXian philosophy came to the rescue..When the user initiates the "report request", we spawn a thread that goes and runs the query to retrieve the results from the database(ofcourse, the thread takes a long time), but in the meanwhile we forwarded the user to a web page with some graphics asking him to wait while this webpage displayed his wait time! This webpage checked with the background thread every now and then to see if the query was done and if done forwarded the user back to the web page where he started from "with" the results! This solved two problems for us, it kept our users and our website constantly engaged and that was the solution. I am quite content to be a part of the Ajaxian world and am looking forward towards adding a few rubies of wisdom to my world.

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