Alex Russell picked out a few great highlights from the new Dojo 1.1 release and has a nice little essay on open source to boot:
I could go on for a long, long time about whatâ€™s great in Dojo 1.1â€¦but Iâ€™ll spare you most of that. James, Pete, Dylan, and the release notes can give you a strong sense of why Dojo 1.1 is the most polished, fastest, and easiest-to-use release of Dojo weâ€™ve ever done. For the impatient, you can already start using it from the CDN without downloading anything.
[From Continuing Intermittent Incoherency Â» Dojo 1.1: Some Awesome For You App]
Dojo is reaping the rewards of having spent a lot of time getting their infrastructure together. 1.1 really improves so many parts of the package.
(ObDisclaimer: I’m not directly involved in the Dojo project myself, but I work directly with core Dojo folks at SitePen.)
I’m just back from attending this meeting:
The talk was given by Brian Reindel of Niche Retail. (Brian formerly worked at Fry Multimedia and his wife currently works there. I never worked at Fry, but I worked with a few Web Elite people who moved on to Fry.)
This is the first Refresh Detroit meeting that I’ve attended. It seems like it’s hard to get the word out about local technology-related groups around here. Some of the group’s areas seem interesting to me, and it’s possible that I’ll do a talk at a future meeting.
Yesterday, Adobe shipped AIR 1.0, an open source toolkit and runtime for creating desktop apps using web technologies. For a time there, I really wondered why someone would want AIR, rather than just building a normal webapp that runs from the server. I can now think of four reasons:
- offline – This one is obvious. AIR is a Google Gears competitor as a way to take a webapp offline.
- performance – Rather than relying on the browsers’ caching behavior to make parts of your software load snappily, just ship the whole app to the user so that the whole thing is local as they navigate.
- local data access – You can manipulate files on the user’s hard drive. This lets you more comfortably do things like build a password manager. Pownce uses AIR to allow people to conveniently drag-and-drop files into the Pownce service.
Installing your first AIR app is amazingly easy. I’m not sure what trickery Adobe pulled to do that, but it’s pretty cool. The only app I’ve used so far is eBay Desktop. In my opinion, there’s no reason that app is an AIR app rather than just a normal webapp. As far as I can tell, you need to be online to do anything useful with it. I don’t think any of the 4 criteria above apply to eBay Desktop.
It’s also notable that SitePen has announced AIR support with Dojo 1.1. That means that you can build cross-platform desktop applications using Dojo. That’s nifty.
AIR is a gamble for Adobe. From what I’ve seen, they seem to be putting a lot of money into it. Time will tell if any truly compelling apps appear.
I believe that we’re going to see some significant post-Rails server side web tools developments this year. TurboGears and Django were both never “Rails clones” because of their history and where they came from. But, all three promote a fairly similar idea of webapps are put together on the server.
Last month, AppJet provided a look at something different. It combined transparent persistence and, importantly, a seamless ability to run code on both the client and server.
I think that Jaxer and AppJet are just the beginning. I’ll definitely be writing more about how the server is changing.
Update: I just noticed that Jaxer is licensed under the GPL. That complicates things a bit, because it seems more like a library than a compiler. In other words, you can’t freely give someone a copy of your app with Jaxer and not be forced to use the GPL. I’m not certain that you could even give them a copy of your app.
I’m an early riser, usually starting work around 7AM Eastern. Today is no exception, despite the fact that this is my first day at my new job. I was surprised to find Alex Russell online when I started up this morning, but this explains it all: Dojo 1.0 has been released. Dojo 1.0 is huge (and yet compact… 23K core!) and powerful. Congrats to everyone who worked on this release!
I’ll be speaking at CodeMash for the second year in a row. At CodeMash ’07, I did an introduction to TurboGears.