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In-Depth ajaxWrite Review 112

mikemuch writes "ajaxWrite is the first offspring of ajax13, Michael Robertson's (of Lindows and SIPphone fame) latest startup that aims to deliver a brave new line of web-delivered, AJAX-based apps. ExtremeTech today has an in-depth review of just how apt a replacement ajaxWrite is for the big installed word processors. It's a neat idea, but let's just say the web-based word processor has some catching up to do."
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In-Depth ajaxWrite Review

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  • Please Just Stop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aldheorte ( 162967 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @10:57PM (#15089356)
    Let's just say that writing client-side applications in JavaScript is a really bad idea. Why would anyone choose to write their application this way? It's an attempt to take something that was originally intended for linking together scientific documents, force fitting a layout language on top of it, which is still really beholden to the underlying document structure, then overlaying that with a scripting language, which is to say, various scripting language interpreters (one for every browser) to try and change the layout and the document on the fly.

    That's what AJAX is - scientific papers posing as layouts posing as interactive applications. It's bad software practice, a misuse of technology, and an excuse for people to attempt to use limited skills to try to hack a simulated client side application, but one that is fundamentally asynchronous, difficult to debug, never provably functional (what browser are you using?) and just plain, well, bad.

    Alright, enough ranting. Mod me down if you want, but when AJAX and "Web 2.0" crashes and burns, you heard it here, well, not first because I'm not the only one to say it, but, well, you heard it, okay? You are, of course, free to do whatever you wish with your time, but please just stop architecting applications like this. I want real applications, not browser-junior app... let... things.
  • by DerGeist ( 956018 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:00PM (#15089364)
    I have a feeling the "next generation" office suite will permit online collaboration. Imagine and online office suite that allows real-time collaboration between editors. With more and more laptops coming ready made with webcam/mic setups, I don't think it would be hard to imagine an online MS Word with a "teleconference" going on in a side-panel. Since many meeting s nowadays turn into little more than a romp in MS Word, this would save considerable travel time and permit simultaneous edits from contributors (a sort of "parallel processing", if you will).

    Now, there are some issues with real-time editing of a document by multiple people, my idea would be to have color-coded cursors for each editor so you could see where everyone is in the document (you can see how Excel cell highlights would work in a similar fashion). Overall, I think it can work, and I envision this is going to be hitting the workplace sooner than we all may think.

  • by the_flyswatter ( 720503 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:11PM (#15089389)
    Not only do have to worry about your browser/os crashing, you have to worry about your internet connection flaking out too!

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:13PM (#15089395) Homepage Journal
    when AJAX and "Web 2.0" crashes and burns, you heard it here, well, not first because I'm not the only one to say it, but, well, you heard it, okay?

    Its funny because this was the idea with java all along and it crashed and burned 10 years ago. Of course Java was killed by Microsoft introducing a non-standard implementation on IE. Maybe the will do it again with javascript. OTH maybe Firefox will undercut microsoft and introduce a standard client. Perhaps it is time for people to consider (mostly) firefox specific java apps.

  • by dteichman2 ( 841599 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:16PM (#15089405) Homepage
    The same people who rolled this out, also have an AJAX video editor. The problem with editing video on a web interface is that all rendering must be done on the server-side. The problem with server-side rendering of video at or near realtime is the necessity of a renderfarm. The problem wth a renderfarm is that it costs money. The problem with costing money is that there's no way they can make any, except by charging ads, which won't be near enough. They could embed ads into the videos, but I still don't think that'd cut it. I'd only pay to have my vids rendered online like this if it was dirt cheap ($1 or $2/month), which a renderfarm isn't.
  • by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <kai@automatica.c[ ]au ['om.' in gap]> on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:34PM (#15089438) Homepage
    But, it's a hack.
    This is a good thing. Where would we be today if people didn't get technology that was originally developed for one purpose and make it do things that the original creators never envisaged...

    That burrito you just whacked in the microwave to heat up? We wouldn't have microwave ovens if it wasn't for someone hacking military radar technology to heat food.

    This intraweb thing you're reading at the moment - tell me you're not really glad that it's not another boring scientific document you're reading. That's why you're here at /.

    There's nothing wrong with taking one technology, or in the case of AJAX, a combination of technologies and taking them places that we never dreamed possible.
  • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:39PM (#15089446) Homepage
    I could understand if these guys were building a component for rich text editing for form fields, ala TinyMCE or such. But this seems to be...just completely bizarre?

    Who is the target market user for this -- people who think Windows Write is just too convenient? Someone whose 486 didn't come with a Turbo button, so all their old text editing programs just run too fast?

    It has all the features of Windows Write or Apple Textedit, with the stability and performance of a web browser! It's annoying enough to type out a response in a text field and have it get eaten by a network error or page refresh problem or browser crash -- do we really need to start losing entire documents?
  • by barnaclebarnes ( 85340 ) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @02:07AM (#15089780) Homepage

    But if you're stuck somewhere with an internet connection and Microsoft Word files to edit but no word processor, ajaxWrite might save your tail.

    My friend emailed himself a document at his work which he saved in OpenDocument format only to find he could not open it in Word. ajaxWrite saved him from making a 1 hour round trip home to get it converted. It may not be Word but it does have its uses.

  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @11:11AM (#15090795)
    I wouldn't. But, what if you deployed something like that on a campus wide server? Or what about countries that have older computers and want to use them in schools. Or perhaps use them in a thin client mode?

    I see some really good uses for it actually. I simply used the thesis example not to say I'd trust doing it, but that as for the stylistic needs, it could be done.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 08, 2006 @02:21PM (#15091650)
    A word processor provides simplified text processing and page layout capabilities. This makes it bad for both tasks for real use, and popular amongst people who need to do such things occasionally, or as part of other work but don't have the time to learn to do things right.

    Precisely. Just as cars are extremely useful, even though they aren't as tough as tanks and can't carry as many people as a bus.

    Word processors are designed primarily for correspondence and business use. They don't do complex page layouts, because you don't need complex page layouts if you're writing a business letter or report. Similarly, word processors aren't very good for editing code or processing multi-gigabyte log files - but who cares? That's not what they're for.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor