iPhone – Lacking as a Phone, Rising as a Platform

28 06 2007

Though the iPhone does not fare well feature-wise in comparison to existing Smartphones for its hefty price tag, there is one good outcome I see from the Apple Marketing Machine hype:

Web applications can piggyback off of the iPhone’s success.

Since Apple is limiting apps to run from Safari, this means developers must create web compliant applications. How does this benefit us who don’t have an iPhone? It means we can run the same applications from our internet enabled phones/devices too. What does this mean to the developer community? AJAX enabled development will be on the rise pushing the limits of Web 2.0 even further. We will see more tools, and new ways of manipulating the browser to deliver a rich user-centric experience.

Plain simple, the iPhone will help usher in the web application platform. More and more applications are going to the web, and with Apple’s marketing power, the Web 2.0 generation is inadvertently benefiting from the iPhone success.

Free Tools to Develop AJAX Applications

26 06 2007

AJAX is new technology. There aren’t very many tools supporting it compared to Java or .NET. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any good tools to develop AJAX applications however. Here are a few of my favorites which have helped me out:

Development – Eclipse + Aptana

Eclipse is the most powerful and extensible IDE I’ve ever used. It supports multiple programming languages, refactoring tools, and the works. Aptana is a plugin for Eclipse which lets you write Javascript code as well as design web-pages from within the IDE with full syntax highlighting and script debugging. Aptana also supports Adobe AIR and Ruby on Rails two new technologies that will make developing web-applications even more powerful. Putting two and two together, it leaves Dreamweaver, which is mostly a design tool, in the dust.

Eclipse can be downloaded from http://www.eclipse.org. Drop the archive anywhere on your system and run it. If you are an Ubuntu user, Eclipse is in the universe for your pleasure.

Aptana can be installed from within Eclipse if you add http://update.aptana.com/install/3.2/ as a remote site. Restart Eclipse and you are good to go.

Basic Testing – Firebug Extension for Firefox

We developers know that debugging can be the most tedious part of the programming experience. Eclipse and Aptana cover debugging the Javascript, but what about the communication between the client and the server? All AJAX applications are n-tiered and Firebug makes monitoring data between the model-view-controller a breeze. You will have to test your application in a web-browser regardless, so having Firebug installed is a bonus. You can also manipulate scripts on the fly, so if you want to make a quick CSS change to see how it affects your page thats already live, go right ahead.

Production Testing – Apache Jakarta JMeter

How do you test if your shiny new application can hold up against thousands of simultaneous users at once? JMeter is a profiling tool from Apache that lets you setup cases to stress test your application. It even provides important data like how long it took to serve a page with 50 simultaneous users, so you can fine tune your app for speed.

Deployment – FireFTP Extension for Firefox

AJAX applications live inside an HTTP server. FTPing your website is easy with FireFTP. It features a two-pane view so you can transfer your website over quick.

As AJAX becomes more popular better tools will be developed making the software process a little bit easier. The above tools mentioned are very robust so put your thinking hats on and start developing applications for the Web 2.0 generation.

Yes.com – Never Guess That Song Again

12 06 2007

I love all of these new Web 2.0 startups. They make my life easier on a daily basis. Have you ever had an experience where you were driving home from school, or from work and you hear this great song but you don’t know who it is? Yes. Radio DJ’s don’t really tell you what tracks they are spinning, but with Yes.com you can look up ANY radio station in the United States and get their entire playlist. Not only this, in traditional web 2.0 fashion you can even watch a YouTube video of the song as well. Next time you hear that Pearl Jam-esque band only to realize its a post-grunge knock-off, give Yes.com a tout.