Local Austin developer David Humphreys opens the panel by introducing Jesse James Garrett, who coined the term AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) – which describes a mix of web technologies used to provide a much more fluid web experience to the end users.

Humphreys kids that by coining the phrase, Garrett has gauranteed himself many years worth of invites to panel discussions ;-)!

Jesse James Garrett is walking us through his satori on AJAX technologies.

His company, Adaptive Path (which specializes in “arguing with our customers to do the right thing”) was building an app for an insurance company that used CSS, DHTML, XML type technologies and techniques. He realized he’d lose upper management if he spoke in technical terms, so he stumbled about trying to form an acronym before coining AJAX.

He quickly posted a small white paper on his company’s website, left for Japan for two weeks and returned to find that the term AJAX had crystalized ongoing discussions on the ‘net – his sited had been Slash-dotted and AJAX was now a movement.

Dylan Schiemann is discussing Dojo, a toolkit for abstracting the difficult bits of AJAX implementation.

A small bit of product placement in his demo while fellow panelist Dori Smith rolls her eyes about 10,000 RPM.

She’s the contrarian on the panel. “First, there’s a lot of technically savvy people, many of them server-side developers, that have Javascript turned off in their browsers. For some reason, these very technically adept [people] feel that Javascript is a security nightmare…”

Whoops! She’s got my number. I heavily filter Javascript (on Windows at least) via Proxomitron, GreaseMonkey and various Firefox extensions.

She continues with accessibility concerns, browser compatibilities (“we tested on IE and Firefox on Windows” – big chuckle from audience).

Dori continues by pointing out that many developers only learn/explore enough Javascript to be dangerous – that these developers try to coerce Javascript into their favorite paradigm (Java, Perl, Python ) rather than learning this “great little language” on its own merits.

“We don’t need Javascript that looks like Perl!”

Humphreys – “I have a friend that claims AJAX stands for Javascript works now” . It’s true that Javascript compatibility and richness has finally reached the point where its usable on a large-scale.

Dori – It also has been more successful because of broadband adoption. “One day we’ll be able to use it in the park” – an amen from the audience.

This is a very “connected” crowd at SxSW. I’ve already heard quite a few praises for the free Wifi at the conference center (Raleigh – free Wifi should be part-n-parcel of your newest civic center!) and in Austin in general.

Austin has become a hotbed for muni-networking – I hope to hook up with some of the founders of their movement.

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