This one goes to 2.0

2005-11-26 16:01:00

Just saw a link off Digg to an entry on the on the Microformats wiki about something called AHAH (Get it? "Aha!"). The article headline describes it as "AJAX 2.0," and breathlessly explains that is "backed by David Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails." The wiki entry for it introduces the concept thusly:

AHAH is a very simple technique for dynamically updating web pages using JavaScript. It involves using XMLHTTPRequest to retrieve (X)HTML fragments which are then inserted directly into the web page, whence they can be styled using CSS.

This fairly silly stuff, even from the perspective of your normal level of silly AJAX/Web-dev hype. Maybe it's getting the double dose by way of its association with Rails.

Let's deconstruct this -- first of all, leaving out the 'J' in the acronym: does this mean it somehow doesn't use JavaScript? And adding the 'H' for 'HTTP' -- AJAX also uses HTTP, remember the XMLHttpRequest object? And as for the 'H' for 'HTML' -- despite what certain ideologues might think, most right-thinking people are using XHTML these days anyway, so the cool AJAX letter 'X' we love so much covers that markup coming back from the server.

Why is it necessary to come up with a new acronym to describe something that is clearly just another flavor of JavaScript-driven DHTML with XMLHttpRequest? (Also known as 'AJAX.' Yes, with an 'X' at the end. It's this cool new Web-dev technique. You see, back in the old days of Web development ...)

Never mind the "AJAX 2.0" thing. That just raises all kinds of weird questions -- If AJAX is Web 2.0, and this 'AHAH' stuff is AJAX 2.0, does that mean that AHAH is then Web 4.0? This makes my head hurt.


This is the blog for Matthew Eernisse. I currently work at Yammer as a developer, working mostly with JavaScript. All opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's.


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