The web works in a client-server relationship. By clicking a link or submitting a form, you are sending data to the web server. The web server responds by sending you an entirely new page. But what if the page didn't change that much? Can't the server just send a small piece of information back to the browser, like "the user didn't fill in the form properly, notify him", and the webpage slightly adjust dynamically?
Enter remote scripting, a technology available to webmasters back 4-5 years ago, but seldomly used due to cross-browser incompatibilities. Fast forward to the present, and we are starting to see rich web applications that have the responsiveness of a desktop app.
The most popular of these remote scripting apps are coming from Google. Yes, they have the wickedest search engine, but they are now diversifying. Take a look at three applications that are currently in beta:
Google Suggest: Type into the search bar, and Google dynamically populates a pull-down menu with suggestions for you. With every few key strokes, Suggest is making a round-trip back to the server and dynamically adjusting the menu. Wicked.
Google Maps: Mapquest WAS nice. Yahoo maps WAS nice. But go to Google maps, and try to find your address. Type something like "255 richmond st e toronto". Click search. Boom. But wait, it gets better. Try to pan the map by clicking and dragging (don't use the arrows, just click somewhere on the map and drag). Holy crap! But wait... it gets better. Try to click the "Satellite" link on the top right corner. Try using directions too, I'm telling you this is fucking wicked (nerd alert).
Gmail: I've got 49 gmail invites if anyone wants to test drive an account. I was skeptical at first -- I mean, I already have an email address. And I already tried web-based email (Hotmail), and it sucked. Soooo slow. Sooo much spam. But now I won't go back. Gmail is that damn good.
- 2 GB of storage and counting (today, I have 2279 MB)
- The power of Google search on your email. I don't need to sort shit! I have 500+ emails right now, but I can find anything with one search (like that email when Shaun promised Anth something? search for Shaun blowjob). Boom. There it is.
- the responsiveness of remote scripting. Inbox. Compose email. Inbox. Compose email.
- Keyboard shotcuts. Taking it to the old school, just like a BBS!
- Email replies are threaded. Click one link, see an entire conversation.
The real moral: Get your ass over to the Google! Look at him, he loves it (just like it says in the encyclopedia).