The story behind Ajax
Recently, we had the chance to speak with Jesse James Garrett, who, in a seminal essay
is the director of user experience strategy of Adaptive Path
, a San Francisco product strategy consultancy firm that he founded.GCN: How did you first come up with using the term Ajax?Garrett
: Adaptive Path is a product strategy consulting firm and we were working with a client on a Web based product. We had done some research and found that the delivering a product that had improved responsiveness for the user would have a significant competitive advantage. It would allow the company to potentially increase its marketshare. So we were looking for ways to do that and that's how we hit upon this combination of technologies.
Now, all the technical people in the organization understood these technologies. They got the significance of what we were proposing, but I needed a convenient shorthand way to express this set of ideas to the business people I was dealing with. It was out of that that the term 'Ajax" came about.
After that, I wrote the essay on the Web site, and it turned out that a lot of people had a need for a shorthand way to refer to these technologies.GCN: Were you surprised by the popularity?Garrett
: Oh absolutely. We published the essay on the Web site and then I left the country. I went to Japan for two weeks, and didn't have Internet access. So I didn't have any idea that I was going to get the feedback that I got. When I [returned] to the U.S., I had this avalanche of e-mail waiting and requests for interviews from reporters. It very rapidly blew up into this huge phenomenon.GCN: So do you think there is a desire in many organizations to move beyond static Web pages?Garrett
: A lot of people have been trying to solve this problem in proprietary ways for years and there have been a variety of technologies that have been proposed to do this, but it is interesting to note that [this kind of message passing] as an approach didn't get traction until it was broadly available in a vendor-neutral way.GCN: Does Ajax require an application server to operate?Garrett
: Not necessarily, but it will be a whole lot easier to do it with an app server than without one.GCN: Finally, what is Adaptive Path? What does a product strategy consultancy do?Garrett
: People call us to help us them answer the question of how to make their products work effectively in the marketplace and how to work effectively for users.--Posted by Joab Jackson
Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Aug 03, 2006 at 9:39 AM