Ajax “Dark Matter”

By on April 19, 2007 11:48 am

Until the release of GMail, much of the innovation in the world of Ajax (at that time known as DHTML and JavaScript) was occurring behind the scenes in corporate intranet applications. At one point, Alex Russell and I concluded that the “DHTML Dark Matter” was at least 10 times the size of the public-facing applications such as Oddpost that were available more than three years ago.

While there is now widespread adoption of Ajax across virtually every class of application on the internet, there are still a number of interesting inventions and advancements occurring inside the firewall, part of the ever-growing “Ajax Dark Matter.”

For example, most of the browser native vector graphics applications that I have seen are not consumer applications, but enterprise applications for monitoring and measuring key metrics and facilities. The same can be said for Comet applications, where the need for low-latency event routing is often much more important to wall street firms than an average consumer user.

Significant portions of SitePen’s Dojo-based development efforts are for companies that use applications for internal use only. While key features are frequently rolled back into Dojo, we’re finding that the number of compelling Ajax applications that are not consumer-facing is growing at least as rapidly as those that get mentioned on Ajaxian or TechCrunch.

We’re beta releasing the Dojo Offline Toolkit next week. Given that the lack of offline access is a major complaint by executives using web apps, I suspect that the adoption of offline capabilities will follow the same pattern as Ajax: significant early adoption for enterprise intranet applications. Hopefully, consumers won’t have to wait as long to enjoy the benefits of offline access as they did for Ajax.