Rich Internet Applications: AJAX & Flash

It's an exciting time for developers like myself. Since the Web's early years, interactivity has been cumbersome. Websites could accept user input and return results, but each interaction required a painfully clunky page refresh.

However, around 2004, Flash and Actionscript gained the ability to exchange data with the server asynchronously. Then in 2005, Google Maps proved that the same could be done with Javascript. Frameworks sprang up like weeds. As these powerful techniques have exploded over the past couple years, they've become known by such names as AJAX, JSON, and RIA (Rich Internet Applications).

I spend considerable time educating myself about this area so that I can effectively apply it to my own work. There are so may directions and possibilities afforded by these technologies, that I feel we have barely scratched the surface. I am currently beginning to make use of the latest developments: Flex, Actionscript 3, and several of the Javascript frameworks; Prototype/Scriptaculous, Dojo, and mootools. Here are some examples of my work with these technologies: