The perfect Ajax application - Joe's Goals

The perfect Ajax application - Joe's Goals

Summary: People who read this blog know that I'm not big on building full web applications in Ajax. While the new Yahoo Mail looks really awesome, I think development time would have been much faster using Flash or OpenLaszlo, and would make for a much better experience as Yahoo incorporates multimedia and other content into the mail reader. But sometimes, Ajax makes for a great user experience, as it does with Joe's Goals.

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TOPICS: Apps
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People who read this blog know that I'm not big on building full web applications in Ajax. While the new Yahoo Mail looks really awesome, I think development time would have been much faster using Flash or OpenLaszlo, and would make for a much better experience as Yahoo incorporates multimedia and other content into the mail reader. The only downside to Flash is that it handles text badly, and since an email is all text, you have to code a lot of workarounds to get it working - which is probably why most mail clients are written in Ajax.

However, Ajax, when used for the right application, is the perfect solution. And to show that I'm not just an Ajax hater, I wanted to point out what I think is the perfect Ajax application - Joe's Goals. It's simple, it's efficient, it doesn't require any bells and whistles, and it makes good use of Ajax without overdoing it. This would be a terrible Flash application, because it's meant for a "quick in, quick out" scenario. You don't want to spend 45 seconds loading the application only to spend a couple minutes with it, which is why Ajax is a good fit here. No loading. It also doesn't try to push Ajax to far, it uses very basic techniques, which is one of the reasons it is popular.

joes_goals.jpg 

What it comes down to is that when building web applications, or looking at building Rich Internet Applications, use the right tool for the job. Sometimes that will be Flex, or it may be WPF down the road, or Apollo. But every once in a while, it's going to be Ajax, just like Joe's Goals.

Topic: Apps

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6 comments
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  • 45 seconds?

    >>"This would be a terrible Flash application, because it's meant for a "quick in, quick out" scenario. You don't want to spend 45 seconds loading the application only to spend a couple minutes with it, which is why Ajax is a good fit here"

    Thats completely incorrect. While i am not questioning the validity of AJAX as a choice for this app, any flash developer worth his salt should be able to write that app that would take virtually no time to start up. I doubt you would have a swf greater than 15 k on this app and using drawing api, drawing a grid that size should be virtually instantanious.
    arpitmathur
    • re:45 seconds?

      I have to concur Ryan, nothing should take that long to load - unless its hosted on a hand cranked server!

      I'm sure there are various (cryptic) studies on the speed of Flex based apps, that are open to all sorts of interpretations (I'm just waiting for the deluge of negative responses!), but personally, I created a demo helpdesk app in Flex 1.5 (that used live data) about a year ago and it loaded significantly faster than a HTML application that did the same.

      Correctly coded, speed is not an issue for me when deciding on Flex / Ajax.

      IMHO, David.
      davidmartinomalley
      • re:45 seconds?

        Oh yeah, forgot to add - I LOVE this app :-)

        RIA or not - the simplicity is genius!

        David
        davidmartinomalley
    • don't do flash. so 45 sconds going on forever. (nt)

      :)

      .
      wessonjoe
  • RE: The perfect Ajax application - Joe's Goals

    I love Joe's goals. Nice, simple interface. I'm also falling in
    love with http://habitforge.com to keep me on track with actually
    establishing a habit (sends me an email each day asking me
    if I completed my goal, and I click yes or no, and it resets the
    clock if I say no... once I go for 21 days in a row, the habit is
    established.
    jurowski
  • RE: The perfect Ajax application - Joe's Goals

    Joe's Goals is very easy, nice and simple. My favorite goal tracker is http://Disciplanner.com - gets me to stay on top of everything while also graphing out bad habits. They're always adding new features.
    uconnes