Web 2.0 at the Ajax Experience 2009 in Boston

TechTarget is hosting the Ajax Experience Conference in Boston from September 14th to 16th. Several tracks like User Experience, High Performance and Scalability, Architecture and more with sessions delivered by key people in the industry promise to provide great content for the attendees to manage the challenges in the Web 2.0 world.

Web 2.0 Promises and Challenges

Powerful browsers, faster JavaScript engines and an endless list of frameworks make building browser based rich client applications easier and more attractive than ever. Leveraging the computational power of the end users browser moves pressure from the servers – or at least so it seams.

I worked with several customers over the past couple of months analyzing their Web 2.0/AJAX Applications for performance bottlenecks and architectural flaws. We used the free Dynatrace AJAX Edition to troubleshoot problems. There is a list of issues that I could see at different implements:

  • hundreds of AJAX Requests (XMLHttpRequests) unknowingly sent by the used Java Script frameworks on a per page request
  • problems with user state handling when moving from page to page
  • misuse of Java Script timers
  • endless Java Script loops
  • incorrect handling of AJAX Responses
  • out-of-sync user state held on the browser and the server
  • dynamically adding too many embedded resources blocking the browsers TCP/IP connections
  • broken links to dynamically added resources
  • rendering and layout issues with individual browsers

These new technologies and possibilities require all people involved in the development process to get to know the new playing field:

  • Developers need to be aware of the available Java Script Frameworks like ExtJS, jQuery, GWT, Cappucino, … They also need to be aware of the JavaScript feature set and the capabilities of different browsers, CSS, JSON, …
  • Testers need to know which tools to use and what to look for. I believe it will be mandatory to have a basic understanding of HTML, JavaScript and the underlying protocols that are used by AJAX Frameworks, e.g.: JSON

Conferences like the Ajax Experience are targeted to help the addressed audience with getting better on those topics leading to not only cool looking Web 2.0 applications but also to applications that can deliver the usability and performance promise.

Meet me at the Ajax Experience and TELL ME about your issues

If you happen to be at the Ajax Experience next week let me know and lets try to get together. I encourage all readers to share the problems that you have seen with your Web 2.0 Applications. Do you also run into browser specific issues? Do you struggle with too many network roundtrips caused by AJAX Requests or too many dynamically added embedded objects? Do you see your browser running out of memory due to JavaScript related memory leaks?

Andreas Grabner has 20+ years of experience as a software developer, tester and architect and is an advocate for high-performing cloud scale applications. He is a regular contributor to the DevOps community, a frequent speaker at technology conferences and regularly publishes articles on blog.dynatrace.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @grabnerandi