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I am sure that most of you have heard about or have had a chance to use Google Maps. It's a great service and I was really impressed by the responsiveness of the application and the ease with which users could drag and zoom maps from a Web browser. It has in many ways heralded the arrival of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), which I am sure will revitalize Web development in the days to come. What makes the service even better is the availability of the Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) as a free Beta service. The API allows developers to embed Google Maps in their custom applications. It also allows them to overlay information on the map and customize the map to their needs. As I write this article there are quite a few sites that utilize Google Maps, and more and more of them are appearing by the day. The API by itself is pretty straightfor... (more)

Shrink-Url - Use PowerShell To Shrink Your Urls

Shrinking your Url’s is all the rage nowadays.  If you are on Twitter, then odds are you have used one.  Despite CodingHorror’s distaste for them in his recent blog post on Url Shorteners: Destroying the Web since 2002, they are a fact of life when we live in a world of 140 character status updates. So what’s a URL shrinking service anyway?  Well, to put it simply, you supply them with a URL, they then supply you with a shorter URL containing a lookup “key”.  When future requests are made to this shorter URL, connections are routed to that services website where they convert the short URL to the original URL and issue a HTTP Redirect back to your browser to send you off to the original long url website. So, what’s a guy, or gal, to do if they want to set their status programmatically on Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, or the other gazillion social networking sites ... (more)

Macromedia's "Zorn" Becomes Flex Builder 2

Macromedia today announced Flex Builder 2, previously code-named "Zorn." Flex Builder 2 can incorporate rich media content from the recently released Macromedia Flash Professional 8 and will be sold for less than $1000 per developer, Macromedia says. That will give developers the ability to develop, compile, and deploy Flex applications that connect to XML and SOAP web services with no additional charges or server licensing required. "Applications deployed by enterprises must increasingly meet divergent requirements across business-to-business and business-to-consumer scenarios, and must offer a rich user experience on the front end, while implementing, on the backend, a secure, maintainable connection to enterprise data and services," said Ray Valdes, analyst, Gartner. "Rich Internet application platforms based on mainstream IDEs that support connecting to enterprise... (more)

Can One Size Fit All?

Traditionally, APIs for processing XML have been categorized according to whether they're designed for processing entire XML documents loaded in memory, such as the W3C DOM, or for processing XML in a streaming, forward-only fashion, such as SAX. However, these divisions do not fully represent the various classes of APIs for processing XML. In a recent article entitled "A Survey of APIs and Techniques for Processing XML," I describe six primary methodologies for processing XML. 1.  Push-model APIs such as SAX 2.  Pull-model APIs such as the .NET Framework's XmlReader class 3.  Tree-model APIs such as DOM 4.  Cursor-model APIs such as the .NET Framework's XPathNavigator class 5.  Object-XML mapping technologies such as the .NET Framework's XmlSerializer class 6.  XML-specific languages such as XQuery This list highlights that the range of considerations when choosing an API ... (more)

AJAX-Driven Websites: Under The Hood

Recently, a number of Web sites have begun to raise some eyebrows within the developer community. What's unique about these sites is that they behave more like a desktop application than a Web application. As you interact with them, they quickly display an endless amount of information to your browser without reloading the page. At the Google Maps site for example (http://maps.google.com/), you can click on the map, zoom in, zoom out, and move around as much as you like. Your browser continues to be fed with data from the server, yet your browser doesn't have to refresh. They're not using applets, or anything like Flash, so how are they doing it? Introducing Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, also known as Ajax. To properly describe what Ajax is, it's easiest to contrast it with what it's not. For most Web sites, interaction with a Web server is simplex communication - ... (more)

Google Maps! AJAX-Style Web Development Using ASP.NET

In the past few months, the design pattern of combining Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) to develop highly interactive Web applications has been growing in popularity. High-profile Web applications such as Google Maps and A9 are currently leveraging the combination of these technologies to produce rich client-side user experiences. The individual technologies that compose AJAX are not recent developments; they have been around for some time and have been continuously updated and improved. However, it is the recent confluence of these technologies that is leading to interesting possibilities. I have three goals in this article. First, I want to provide a high-level overview of AJAX-style applications. My second goal is to provide a detailed description of asynchronous callback features of ASP.NET 2.0. Finally, I want to provide an insight into upcoming enhance... (more)

What Is XLIFF and Why Should I Use It?

Much time, energy, and commitment are required to develop and sell successful software products and Web-based services. Most products of this type are initially developed for a specific language and locale (e.g., U.S. English). To maximize return on investment, products can be customized so they may be available to the largest possible market - the global market. This customization process is known as localization. Localization includes not only translation of the displayed text, but also adaptation of a product to comply with a country's cultural and legal practices. Examples of cultural conventions include date/time formats, postal address formats, font sizes, appropriateness of colors, numeric or currency formats and symbols, culturally appropriate icons or graphics, etc. The diversity of software platforms and technologies means that tools and technologies that... (more)

Java Viewpoint: "Java Is Still the Mainstream, But..."

The other day I was talking to a coworker about learning Ruby. He said that as a Java programmer the hardest part of learning Ruby was not the syntax nor the dynamic typing. Oh, he could write perfectly correct Ruby, sans semicolons and variable declarations. His problem was that he found himself falling back into his same old Java habits. He felt like he was missing something because his Ruby code always ended up looking pretty much like what he would have written in Java. This is not a problem that is unique to Java or Ruby or even programming languages. We all have a comfort zone of techniques and habits, our ‘happy place‘ where we feel productive and comfortable. The trouble with the happy place is that if you stay in your happy place too long you will be miserable. The world will move on and there you will be, eyes tight shut, hands over your ears, ... (more)

Flashback to January 2006: Exclusive SYS-CON.TV Interviews on "OpenAjax Alliance" Announcement

Read Sun's Take on "Open AJAX"– Tim Bray Speaks Out IBM is leading, but apparently not controlling, a bold initiative known as "Open AJAX" that brings this open-source application development approach to the forefront of the worldwide i-technology industry. The Open AJAX initiative does not have a centralized structure or website, but is rather an idea that is being formally backed by BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla Corporation, Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo, Zend and Zimbra. A spokesperson for one of the major backers said that Google will also be backing this initiative. Exclusive SYS-CON.TV Interviews on "Open AJAX" Announcement IBM's David Boloker Announcing Open AJAX Oracle Exec Ted Farrell Outlines Oracle Open AJAX Strategy Sun's Dan Roberts Discusses Java Studio Creator 2, Open AJAX Laszlo S... (more)

Using Apache Tuscany SDO and JSF To Build Dynamic Web Forms

This was the challenge: Build a generic system that lets users compare data suppliers in different categories. The data to be compared is defined by XML Schemas, where new schemas will be frequently uploaded and existing schemas may be changed. Moreover, the schemas aren't specifically designed for this system, so system specific metadata can't be added as attributes. Based on the schemas the data suppliers must be presented with standard HTML forms to enter in their own specific data. Alternatively the suppliers must be able to use a Web Service interface. Overall the sum of the requirements demanded extreme flexibility and robustness of the system. So basically we wanted something that could go from XSD/XML to HTML forms and back. We stumbled upon a few COTS products, but these weren't suitable. I know many of you will probably think XForms. XForms was what turned ... (more)

SOA Product Review: Intel XML Software Suite 1.1

The one thing that unifies the distributed computing style known as SOA, in most of its manifestations, is self-describing data via the Extensible Markup Language (XML). The benefits of XML over opaque message formats in data interchange are well established. No matter if your focus is SOAP, REST, POX, or syndication with RSS or ATOM, your applications will revolve around XML processing. The bane of XML has always been the overhead of processing it in terms of memory and CPU consumption - parsing documents, performing XML Schema validation, searching for elements with XPath, and especially executing transforms. This problem has been met head-on by Intel's Software and Services Group, with the release of the Intel® XML Software Suite. The fact that Intel has a software development group dedicated to creating software tools optimized for Intel hardware platforms is no... (more)