Microsoft's Desktop Windows staff: We love Javascript. Microsoft's Mobile Windows staff: What's Javascript?

Microsoft's Desktop Windows staff: We love Javascript. Microsoft's Mobile Windows staff: What's Javascript?

Summary: When AJAX, otherwise known as Asynchronous Javascript and XML, first became all the rage (mostly thanks to Google), Microsoft didn't waste anytime reminding AJAX-watchers that it pioneered the idea of mass-distributed AJAX-based applications with its browser-based version of Outlook (aka: Outlook Web Access or OWA for short). See Will the real AJAX pioneer please stand up?

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TOPICS: Mobility
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When AJAX, otherwise known as Asynchronous Javascript and XML, first became all the rage (mostly thanks to Google), Microsoft didn't waste anytime reminding AJAX-watchers that it pioneered the idea of mass-distributed AJAX-based applications with its browser-based version of Outlook (aka: Outlook Web Access or OWA for short). See Will the real AJAX pioneer please stand up? Since then, Microsoft has been talking-up its support for AJAX and yesterday, put its money where it's mouth is when it released the beta version of its Atlas AJAX tool. According to eWeek's Darryl Taft:

Microsoft released Oct. 20 the first beta of its AJAX tool, ASP.Net AJAX, formerly known as Atlas, making it available under three download options. The first option is the ASP.Net AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) v1.0 "Core" download, which contains the features that will be supported by Microsoft Product Support and includes support for the core AJAX type system, networking stack, component model, extender base classes and the server-side functionality to integrate within ASP.Net.....The second option is the ASP.Net AJAX "Value-Add" download, which contains additional higher-level features that were in previous CTPs (Community Technology Previews) of Atlas, but which won't be in the fully supported 1.0 Core version....The third option is the ASP.Net AJAX Control Toolkit, which contains 28 free, AJAX-enabled controls that are built on top of the ASP.Net AJAX 1.0 Core download.

Clearly, the Redmond-based software giant digs Javascript -- a courtship which began well before the Smartphone-edition of the Windows Mobile operating system (the version of Windows Mobile found in the Motorola Q) made its debut. What has me confused however is how the company can appear so dedicated to Javascript, but not support it in its mobile operating system to the same extent that it supports it on the Windows desktop OS.

Though I need few reminders of this because of how many Web sites I try to visit with the Q and how many of them don't work because of how Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE) chokes on their Javascript, the most recent debacle turned up when I attempted to check the flight arrival time for a JetBlue flight. JetBlue's Flight Status page is like 90 percent Javascript, 10 percent HTML. Simply put, if you're using PIE, you can't check the status of a flight.  

In all fairness, PIE apparently supports a kind of AJAX. If for example, you visit the IE Mobile Team blog, you'll find an entire post dedicated to what must be done on the server side in order for things to work properly on the client side. Somewhat indicating the hoops one most go through to make the Web usable on the Windows Mobile OS, there's even a poster in the comments area who goes by the handle "PieMagician."  I laughed pretty hard when I saw that.

Bottom line: The mobile Web as far as I'm concerned is very much broken. The old crusty WAP is about the only way to reliably get things done but that's hardly the mobile multimedia utopia that "they" (the proverbial "they") keep promising us. Know of other sites that simply break on a mobile device? Please share them here (in the comments below) and moving forward, I'll factor them into my smartphone testing. 

Topic: Mobility

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  • Microsoft JavaScript confusion

    Mary Jo has a blog entry about Javascript in IE8 in the last paragraph (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=62)

    Boy am I confused!
    sinleeh@...
  • mobile java script

    The lack of javascript in wm5 is a major disappointment to me as this is my first use of a ppc Does Minimo support java script
    aximatic
  • PIE sucks

    You requested what web sites don;t work on Mobile IE: I have found, repetively, that any video site, i.e. www.youtube.com, fails. Why hasn't Microsoft addressed this yet?
    disgruntled PIE user