Wednesday, March 22, 2006

PHP AJAX File Upload Progress Meter Updates

Joshua posted updates about the PHP AJAX File Upload Progress Meter. The patched version gives more information such as upload speed and estimated time to completion, Joshua also created wiki to start the documentation process. You can see the demo working online with patch and extension and without patch.

WEBoggle, an AJAX Multiplayer Boggle Game

WEBoggle is a web-based Multiplayer Boggle Game where you can play and have fun, but the website was already down this morning the second time I check it to write about it. The game is too much fun, and personaly I find it very addictive too. When the timer starts, each player searches the assortment of letters for words of three letters or more (four or more on the 5x5 board). When you find a word, type it into the blank and press the ENTER key. Words are formed from adjoining letters. Letters must join in the proper sequence to spell a word. They may join horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, to the left, right, or up-and-down. No letter cube, however, may be used more than once within a single word.

What's interesting that the game is always running, and you may join it anytime, you don't even need to register to start playing but of course you have to register to join the top scores. Online games are always gourmand in resources consuming, and certainly with AJAX the game should be running on a robust server to allow more players to join the game. You don't have to download plugin or other to play just a browser and you can go. WEBoggle is available in two flavors 4x4 and 5x5. The game is written with Perl and AJAX and is using a 90,000 word dictionary.

An AJAX future

In the next few years the Web will be dominated by AJAX applications. That's been my opinion for a while since I began to understand the explosive power this set of technologies would unleash on the wired world. Now comes Bill G. himself saying the same thing. Why is AJAX so important? It radically improves the user experience by overcoming the stateless nature of the web. Gone are the days of constant frustrating screen refreshes every time you make a change to a piece of data. For example my wife and I, in preparation for moving to Kansas City are looking for a house. One only need explore the difference between the Prudential Web Site and the Reece Nichols Website to understand the radical shift that is coming. What it takes me 20 minutes to do on RN, I can do in about 5 on the AJAX enabled Prudential site. So a word of warning to the web weaving masses, fail to embrace AJAX at your own peril, it will rule the Web. Ajax Hotel Booking

Travel sites have been pioneers in the Ajax space. One of the first Ajax applications that I saw was a dutch travel site (second to Outlook Web Access of course. fits the entire booking process into a single page Ajax application. Run searches, make selections, all in one area.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Usability for Rich Internet Applications

Donna Maurer posted at the Digital Web Magazine about Usability for Rich Internet Applications. In this article Donna explore the challenges that developers and designers encounter to increased richness and interactivity of Internet applications, The key challenge in designing part-page updates is making sure people see them :

* Deciding How Much Richness to Add

* Interactive Page Elements

* Refreshing Part of the Page

* Breaking the Page Model

Rich Internet applications (RIAs) can provide opportunities to design much better user experiences. They can be faster, more engaging and much more usable. However, this improvement is not without its downside—RIAs are much more difficult to design than the previous generation of page-based applications. The richer interaction requires a better understanding of users and of human-computer interaction (HCI). Although there is a lot of HCI material and research available, it can be difficult to determine how it applies to this new environment.

My-BIC, LIGHT and TASTY New AJAX/PHP framework

Jim Plush started his AJAX/PHP framework My-BIC which support XML, JSON and TEXT ajax transactions. This is the first release of My-BIC so you can download it and give it a try. Jim is looking for volunteers to try it out and voice their opinions, you can find tutorials in the website, how to use JSON, XML and TEXT formats and error handling.

After tiring of over hyped ajax frameworks trying to hide the guts that make ajax programming fun I decided to share my recipe for easy to make ajax applications where you still have control over everything, but the setup of it all is handled for you. This is a basic state of mind system rather than a framework. I offer you four files and a design pattern that allows you to focus on making things happen rather than setting things up. This is designed for PHP5 but can be written for php4 if people are interested.

Prototype Tutorial

If you are new to Prototype and wondering how to use it, Sergio Pereira have written an excellent Developer Notes for prototype.js 1.4.0 introducing the different utility functions and the AJAX Object. Sergio is also offering an un-official reference for the objects, classes, functions, and extensions provided by this library.

You may also then print the dissected graphics of Prototype that Jonathan have created to see in details the different methods and properties and better understand how it works. We'll have some demos also in the next days with Prototype so stay tuned !