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Web Dynpro and AJAX

Think AJAX and you think Google Suggest! The idea behind AJAX is to create faster, better and more user friendly applications. It isn’t one technology but several technologies each booming in its own right, coming together in new ways.


Why the hue and cry over AJAX?

The major concern of any IT project is to make its web applications as efficient as possible, thus ensuring a competitive edge over the others. This is where AJAX comes into picture; it enables web applications to function quickly and efficiently. Like I mentioned before, AJAX is not one technology but a combination of several pre existing technologies like XHTML, CSS, DOM to name a few.

One of the most important contributions of AJAX has been improving the user experience. AJAX also decreases the bandwidth usage, since it does not require the page with all its content to be reloaded, content is loaded on demand. It also gives freedom of language and formats. AJAX is based on open standards, giving programmers the accessibility and flexibility to use what they need.

Using AJAX is the very introduction of Rich Internet Applications or RIAs. RIA according to Wikipedia is a “cross between Web applications and traditional desktop applications, transferring some of the processing to the client end.” The key difference between RIAs and other Internet applications is the amount of interaction in the interface. An RIA can use a wider (and hopefully better) range of controls to improve users’ interaction with the interface, allowing efficient interactions, better error management, feedback and overall user experience. They promise interfaces that are more responsive, productive and adaptive.

So when did SAP embrace AJAX?

The point to note is that AJAX is not a new thing, the technologies that make it up have been around a while.

After I read the blog  AJAX @ SAP – an Old Hat! , I couldn’t help but wonder how long SAP been using AJAX. The above mentioned blog with its arguments and counter arguments is an interesting read.

I am leaving this as an Open question J

Where does Web 2.0 fit in?

Enter Web 2.0, the leading edge in design innovation! It simply puts together interconnectivity and interactivity. Web 2.0 applications like wikis, mashups and other collaborations enable multi way communication, re-define business processes and create virtual communities.SAP has Web 2.0 functionalities – portal, widgets, wikis, blogs and other AJAX capabilities. We are harnessing the Web 2.0 capabilities to enterprises leading to the Enterprise 2.0.

A very important point to note here that Web 2.0 is not AJAX. Most Web 2.0 applications happen to be AJAX, in other words AJAX is an enabling technology for Web 2.0!

Web Dynpro and AJAX

Web Dynpro UIs seem to be a bit restrictive and are not very innovative. But integrating the AJAX capabilities with Web Dynpro has increased the scope of UI development using Web Dynpro technology. 

The AJAX client is the new name for the HTML client (simply because it incorporates the new AJAX features).Some of the features are

  • Drag and Drop (and Browse and Collect)
  • Runtime Authoring – lets you rearrange your UI during Runtime.
  • Suggestion Support (Yes, similar to google suggest!)
  • Input Validation – It’s a new default behavior, can be turned off.
  • Inplace Editing and Input Prompt
  • Access Keys – Rapid navigation and Focus
  • Hot Keys – trigger an action with keyboard shortcuts

All these features have been explained with Demos in Oliver Mayer’s blog Web Dynpro Java and Ajax in SAP NetWeaver CE 7.1 enhancement package 1

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