Category Archives: ajax-resources

Ajax Resources

Building Mobile Apps with Jo

If, like me, you prefer to build your applications using HTML / JavaScript and CSS, then the Jo HTML5 Mobile App Framework could be your choice in the future.

Jo is a relatively new framework which was first released in June 2010 (version 0.0.1). In November 2010 they released version 0.3.0.

So what is Jo?

Jo is a JavaScript User Interface framework using CSS3 for mobile applications. It’s compatible with PhoneGap (popular framework for building native iOS, Android, Symbian and Blackberry applications using HTML and JavaScript).

Using Jo and PhoneGap, you can create native iPhone/Android/Symbian applications which are both lightweight and responsive as well as pretty. Jo currently supports the follow platforms – webOS, iOS, Android, Symbian, Safari and Chrome.

Once I’ve had a chance to really play with this, I’ll hopefully post up some tutorials. In the meantime, here are some handy references.

I think it looks great, what do you guys think?

Serious Flash Alternative using CSS3?

Sencha Animator

Although Adode Flash has improved performance-wise (arguably) recently and more people are upgrading to more powerful systems (desktops, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets and other mobile web hardware) – still flash cannot offer what the world has been looking for. That is – even better performance cross-platform, more openness and better security (to name a just a few). Obviously the blanket ban flash has been given from some Apple products (think Iphone/Ipad) is not helping.

For the past couple of years, web technology has exploded in terms of what can be achieved using JavaScript. Things have also moved forward with HTML and CSS. The terms used to describe these recent improvements are HTML5.

Apple has mentioned many times that flash is not needed and that “everything that can be done in Flash, can be done using HTML5” (that is – HTML, JavaScript, CSS and perhaps Canvas). They are not the first to say this (Apple usually pick-up on what other already know!).

With the Iphone and Ipad selling like hotcakes, web application providers previously using Flash (or considering using it) need to have a serious think about the user reach. They could do the old-fashion thing – build a Flash web application and an alternative HTML 4 one. Or they could build one in HTML 5. Now that’s a hard one!

There are various JavaScript libraries out there with some great UI. But one of the newest ones using the very latest technologies comes from the team that brought us EXT JS (now run by Sencha). It’s called Sencha Animator. Is Sencha Animator a serious flash alternative?

Sencha Animator comes as a desktop application used to create rich HTML5 animation. It’s currently in its infancy but could have real potential. There is one drawback at this point-in-time however; it requires a Webkit browser to work. This means it will work in Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Iphone, Ipad, Blackberry torch, Google Android and other Webkit based browsers. But it will not fully work in IE, Opera or Firefox. At least not until the CSS3 is fully supported (IE 9 claims support).

At this time, many of the CSS3 techniques used by Sencha Animator are Webkit only (i.e. it has things like: -webkit-text-fill-color and -webkit-transform).

Sooner or later all major browsers should support these… but just not yet.

ExtJS JavaScript Framework

Ext JS, the JavaScript framework with Ajax and UI Components

Update – some of the original links have been removed

Ext JS is a JavaScript Library/Framework which works in conjunction with Prototype, YahooUI and jQuery. It’s probably the most exciting toolkit available for building web 2.0 websites right now. It’s jam packed with features, and is designed to make life much easier for building great UI in JavaScript.

I’ll not dig to deep right now, I suggest you check out the example and demos first to see what you think.

Below is a the script used to grab XML data via Ajax and populate a grid (sortable table like object):

Take a look at the JavaScript generated grid here.

Hopefully this short intro will wet your appetite, more to come soon.

Great work Jack (and the rest of the Ext JS team) for this superb library, can’t wait to see more!!

Ajax Tutorial

Update. Sadly the website mentioned in the post is no longer available.

Here is another very interesting Ajax resource well worth a read. This article give some nice examples of things you can do with Ajax, some tutorials and also explains the history of Ajax. The article is several months old and you may already have came across it before – but it certainly deserves a mention here.

Check out DHTMLNirvana’s “Ajax – What is it good for?” (sorry, this link is no longer available).

AJAX and Accessibility

Just read an interesting article over at sitepoint by James Edwards. Titled AJAX and Screenreaders: When Can it Work?

Quote:

We’ve all heard a great deal of buzz about AJAX in the last few months, and with this talk has come a legion of articles, tips, presentations and practical APIs designed to explore the possibilities and try to arrive at best-practice techniques. But, for all of the excitement and hype, still very little has been said on the subject of AJAX and accessibility.

Nice thought-provoking article.