Wednesday, January 26

JavaScript to Java remote scripting

How to build responsive web UIs

Dear Reader,

Web based user interfaces are hot. Lots of applications took the portable road to webiness instead of staying in the good old realm of the well known client applications, which have to be deployed and maintained on the client. What has been left behind? Usability for the most part had to stay home. A responsive user interface? An application which reacts on your actions and suggests useful help? Hard to find, these days.

Maybe some of you have tried Google Mail already? Of course its also web based, but - oh wonder - you find a user experience which has already become uncommon. Suddenly the user can switch from form to form without seeing the page to rebuild itself. Only the part where you expect new content gets replaced. Also, sometimes you can even switch without any waiting. A click on any element in the user interface, be it a checkbox or a link, has immediate and durable effect.

Although it can still be improved, together with intelligent management of layers and javascript Google allows a far better user experience than most other web applications. Google may not be the only one, but as it is one of the more visible ones I hope that others follow and improve their sites.

If you want, too, maybe the JSonRPC bridge helps. It allows you to call methods on beans, which run on your application server, from Javascript. It allows to load data on-the-fly, without having to reload the whole page. It means less used bandwidth and less stress for the server (because it doesn't need to go through the whole publishing process for that page, just because of a single little change).

So, the theory looks promising. Lets hope to see more sites using those techniques in the future.

So long and have a good day,