Ajax Server Administration?

Here’s a concept, one that i’ve been toying around with myself, actually (more to come soon on my end) — It’s WebCmd — It’s an ajax-based command line. It uses perl + libXmlRequest to produce a “remote command line in a browser” — which is something that would have previously been unheard of without using java, say, oh, 2 days ago.

What does this actually get you? Well, alone, you might be able to do some system administration w/o having to use SSH, which might be an “ok” thing — but really, the key concept is really to provide a new way of accessing old applications. I know there are companies out there that have been really pushing hard to get old green screen applications pushed into the present by doing various things like wrapping the old “screens” in HTML, using java to interface w/ the old application, providing a slightly fancier interface to the old app.

Now everyone’s got a new choice for doing this kind of thing. What i’m more interested, being a linux guy, is the ability to do with ajaxified methods some of the basic things i would normally have to do by opening up a shell, logging into a server, and running some commands.

I’m working on a little utility that i myself will find useful, and i hope others will too.

Also, after macromedia’s recent announcement of flash-javascript interoperability, now comes flashjs.

Both of these are added to the Ajax Toolkit and Project List. I think i’m going to start calling it something else — maybe “rich web framework toolkit and project list” — because it doesn’t really cover “just” ajax anymore.

Rico and more

Ok, I understand that Sabre used the word ‘Rico’ to mean that they’ve got a framework for ‘rich applications.’ However, whenever i read or hear about rico, i can’t help but think of one of two things.

  1. Tony Soprano — How many times do you hear the mobsters mention the ‘RICO’ laws?
  2. Rico….. Suave!

Now, I think Rico is exactly what the “Rich Web Application” community needs. Not because of what it is, but because of who is behind it. Sabre is a fairly large company, and they’ve been sponsoring Rico, finally releasing it into the wild. It’s nice that toolkits exist, but you really need an all-encompassing package that supports lots of functionality.

It’s hard to develop an application with lots of little pieces. Prototype is nice, but it doesn’t have all the pieces there. Backbase is great, but it’s not open source, and costs some real money. Dojo will be nice, when/if it gets here. I’m not criticizing, they’re new — they just need time to get everything put together.

For something as complicated as a rich web app framework, you really need some financial backing to put enough people on the project to make it worthwhile. Lone developers go so far, but we need more. I think that’s what we’ve got with Rico. Dojo might have it, i’m not sure how many people from Jot work on Dojo, and how much money Jot has / will have to develop with.

Anyway, I think Sabre’s shown some “enlightened self interest” with releasing Rico, and I think that it’s going to take the web app framework community to new, very good, places.

Oh yes — i’ve added Rico, Drag and Drop w/ Prototype, the Javascript Gamelib, and CPAINT to the ajax toolkits list.

Web 3.0? — Rich Web Applications

I’ve added qooxdoo to the list of toolkits, and it got me thinking. With dojo, qooxdoo, all the ajax frameworks out there, etc., we’re really in the infancy of a new breed of web applications.

Yes, google’s got em already, but the average joe doesn’t have the manpower to put all the pieces together himself. These toolkits are still very rough around the edges, and it’s going to take some time and some painful development of applications, some aborted projects, some cross-flow of ideas between projects, but we’ll see the browser be what microsoft feared it would be from the beginning — the browser is going to become the platform.

Why is this happening? We’re at a point now where the tools for web development, your databases and your server side scripting languages / application servers are already written, and they’re pretty good. me, as a developer, I can’t go out and hack together a PHP/FI version 1.0 and have it be of any use to anyone. What I’m saying is that because the tools are there, we’re now able to build tools on top of our tools, to make what we build even better.

I’ll give the Ajax toolkits another 6-9 months before they’re really mature, and the javascript widget-based toolkits, well, my guess is they’ll need at least another 12-18 months before there’s anything that’s highly polished and usable to a wide array of people.

Now, i haven’t actually played with the likes of Backbase, and they might be closer than anyone, I just don’t know. I think a project for tomorrow is to go download the backbase community edition and see what i can do.