AJAX (Asynchronous Java Script & XML) has brought us Gmail, Google Maps and Flickr and gives web developers an exciting new toolbox of tricks that can drastically overhaul the traditionally limited user interface experiences we are used to on the Internet. Without delving into what it takes to make AJAX work, it's worth remembering that the technology behind AJAX is quite simply a clever use of established technologies. Rethinking and repackaging technologies in this manner enables an immediate impact for the end user; for the developer it offers an exciting, upgrade free mechanism to deliver new functionality.
Rethinking how you use established technologies now seems to spurring new activities in other areas. A reprinted article in today's International Herald Tribune reveal how state governments in Virginia and Maryland are beginning to use cell phone signals to monitor traffic patterns. The idea behind this is to use established cellular networks and the patterns of cell phone movement to improve traffic management along congested freeways.
This suggests to me an interesting pattern: how can we use established technologies to maximise the experience and usefulness for the end-user? Applying this model also presents new sources of revenue, however I suspect in this specific case we will eventually hit privacy issues - do we really all want to be tracked this way? Personally, I think innovative careful management of existing cell infrastructure should safe guard the opportunities while guarding against a public outcry.
Consider however the wider context: re-using and repacking existing technologies might emerge as a stronger trend in 2006. New technologies will continue to pop up, however perhaps the optimum chemistry exists in a closely integrated mix between new and existing technologies.
View all posts from Jonathan Bruce on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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