Take the Ajax Challenge: What Can’t Ajax Do?

Working (offline) on Richer Plugin, I’ve expanded the list of reasons you’d want to use a Richer Plugin, i.e. Flash, Java Applets, Standalone clients, Firefox extensions etc.

Here’s the list of things Ajax can’t do on it’s own – what else is there?

  • Browser morphing Adding buttons, toolbars, bookmarks, icons; changing browser behaviour.
  • Local file access Reading and writing files on the user’s hard drive.
  • Sound Playing music and sound effects.
  • Rich graphics Providing rich graphics, changing dynamically. (This is gradually changing with the introduction of SVG in some browsers, but it’s no match for desktop graphics.)
  • Keyboard shortcuts Providing a full range of keyboard shortcuts while avoiding conflicts with the browser’s own keyboard shortcuts.
  • Hardware access Input from devices such as microphones, webcams, and gamepads; output to devices like printers and portable gadgets.
  • Extended communication Communication from the client machine to locations beyond just the base server, and in protcols other than plain old HTTP.
  • Operating system interaction Catching events such as shutdown initiation; changing preferences; popping up alerts; reading hardware information.

4 thoughts on Take the Ajax Challenge: What Can’t Ajax Do?

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  1. Hi Michael. Hope everything is good with you. :-)

    Local file access is a fairly good issue. While I would not want to just provide blanket access to the file system, some mechanism along the lines of “isolated storage” would be great. In scott’s post, which I reference above, he mentions some client side building blocks for file storage. Since the post last June, I have had some more discussion with the PM in charge of Atlas. They are attempting to create some type of delivery vehicle and work with other browser makers to support this. I don’t know where that has gone as I haven’t talked to them on the subject since early October. I’ve been too busy writing my on “AJAJX with ASP.NET” book.
  2. Hi Michael. I’ve been working with Microsoft’s ATLAS project code and there will be the capability to add controls dynamically to a page with it. Its not AJAX as I think about it, but it will come in the box. As for how well it supports FF and Opera, I have no idea.

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