John Sequeira


Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Javascript as the new app server?

I've been playing with a writable Web application called NumSum, a Web-based spreadsheet. Here's a little test spreadsheet I created. They have a "blog this" feature which creates an iFrame of the spreadsheet. Here's what it looks like:
Go ahead and change some cells and it will recalculate. Your changes won't be persistent. This is unlikely to put Office out of business anytime soon, but as a demo application, it shows just how far this might go. Doesn't feel like a Web-app, does it?

NumSum was built to show off the capabilities of TrimPath, a "web Model-View-Controller framework that gives you Rails without the Ruby." Heck, just a good set of JavaScript templates would make my life easier right now.

Apparently, someone has taken the TrimPath SQL parser and the AJAX massive Storage System to build a JavaScript database, one more piece in the microapplications puzzle. With an offline datastore, you can do things that require only occasional connectivity.

Tip of the hat to Tim Shadel for pointing these out to me.

When I first read about how Pugs had a Javascript backend, I was at a loss to figure out what the practical impact of that might be. The references in Windley's article above suggests some interesting possibilities.

I had my own Javascript a-ha moment a few months ago, while struggling to get the darcs cgi viewer running on Windows. The perl/cgi code is pretty straightforward -- it just uses darcs' xml export option and runs xslt stylesheets to generate html. It occurred to me that this approach would port quite well to a single-page web application (and of course I wouldn't be debugging it on Windows), since xslt-in-the-browser is a reasonably well-implemented behavior.


I'll have to put this on my GTD maybe-someday list.


For a definitely-today GTD application, make sure to take a look at NextAction both for it's ajaxy slickness and novel offline usability.
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