There and Back Again

Cake, mp3act and lots of other AJAX Updates

I’ve been slowly updating my AJAX resource list, I’m down to about 20 items on my incoming list now to review. The biggest things i’ve found recently are the Cake PHP framework, and mp3act.

Cake is a PHP framework based on Rails, I like frameworks of that style because they don’t need any configuration files, its 100% code driven. Cake seems to have a focus on making things easy for the User, and its AJAX support is no exception, the helpers class looks like it really cuts down on the amount of code needed to get things done. There is a neat example page that was created to shown off all the AJAX stuff that cake can do. If you goto the website an notice its quite parse, take a look at the trac site, it has some pretty good docs linked off the menu bar on the right side, the site was moved recently and it seems that a website redesign is lagging behind.

mp3act is a one of those streaming music servers, its based on PHP and sajax (which wouldn’t be my choice but I guess its been around for awhile). It really shows what you can accomplish if you don’t worry about browser compatability and just code for firefox. That being said, I don’t see anything there doing that couldn’t be done on IE is well. Which brings me to an interesting point that I read in the Alex’s OSCON slides, you don’t want to be writing JavaScript yourself. I mean feature-wise JavaScript isn’t a bad language, it has prototype based OO and dynamic closures, and a decent programming environment in Firefox, but there is still IE to worry about (and Opera, and Safari). Each browser has a bug here, or something not completely implemented. Working around these bugs isn’t something you want to do on your own, by using Open Source libraries we can share in the work and the fixes. With a little bit of luck will all be able to create powerful AJAX apps without having to go the mp3act route.

I’m going to keep this pattern up of only posting update overviews on a weekly or bi-weekly basic since I don’t like clogging up my blog with tons of little update posts. If you want to see whats happening on a daily basic I’ve added a recent updates page. I’d like to add an rss or atom feed for that as well as the rest of the resource pages, but I don’t want to bother with learning any of the standards. If anyone knows of a feed writing class that works in PHP4 let me know.

Also I’ve thought about injecting the updates into my regular feed (not the one that goes to planet-php), but im not sure how reasonable that is to do in WordPress or how kosher it is to inject almost blog content into my blog feed. Any thoughts on this would especially be appreciated.

Libraries

Behaviour : Using CSS selectors to apply Javascript behaviours
Small JavaScript class that can be used to apply behaviours to documents in a non intrusive way
CakePHP
Rails port to PHP, provides the same type of AJAX tie-ins

Articles

Will AJAX help Google clean up? | CNET News.com
General AJAX coverage focusing on Big players like Google, MS, Macromedia/Adobe and how AJAX will affect the market for things like Flash and XAML
Christian Cantrell: Deep Linking in Flash and AJAX Applications
Article which discusses problems with linking to a page created using AJAX, different techniques and there problems are covered
PXL8 – IFrame Remote Scripting
Article covering howto load data from a remote server using IFrames
Using the XML HTTP Request object
Article covering the ins and outs of using XMLHttpRequest on various browsers, various requests such as GET POST HEAD are covered

OSS Applications

mp3act – Streaming MP3 Jukebox AJAX Web Application
A PHP GPL application that provides a Streaming MP3 Jukebox, only Firefox and Safari are support.
Broken Notebook AJAX spell checker
A php project that adds spell checking to a textarea using the pspel/aspell extension and cpaint

Blogs

AjaxDeveloper.org
AJAX blog aggregator, each posting contains a short quote and some commentary

Examples

Cake Framework AJAX Demo
Demo of all AJAX Helpers in Cake PHP Framework

Presentations

Building Dynamic Web Applications with AJAX
Slides to presentation given at the AzPHP Users group in April ’05, gives an AJAX intro and shows a demo app built with JPSpan
Learning AJAX OSCON ’05 Tutorial Session
Good overview of AJAX and then building an Auto-save text area with Dojo and Prototype, sample code linked from slides

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