Serverless AJAX = SPA?

The technologies I’ve been working with the last six months and uninspiringly calling “Serverless AJAX” now have a name: Single Page Application or SPA. There are a couple of examples listed, but they’re hard to grok at first glance. The central premise is that the web browser is now rich enough to constitute an operating system–you have DHTML for the display layer, the DOM for in-memory object and data structures, JavaScript for programming, XML as a database and the file system/web for “off-line” storage.

The funny thing is, you start off with a “web browser” and find yourself at a point where you don’t need the web any more. The web browser becomes a uniquely accessible presentation interface with surprisingly few constraints. What I mean is, it becomes theoretically possible for people with basic web skills to create applications with broad platform compatibility and very low resource requirements. So, for example, imagine something like Gmail–with both that level of compatibility and complexity–and remove the web-connectedness of it (or at least the necessity of web-connectedness). Imagine an off-line version of Gmail. I’d bet it’s on the way. It would be here already if connectivity wasn’t so ubiquitous or at least ubiquitous seeming (I qualify because I have to wonder if we don’t unconsciously tether ourselves to foster that illusion of ubiquity, if we simply consider our computers broken if they’re not connected, but that’s a thought for another post).

Anyway, I find “SPA” and the even more stretched “SPADE” to be uninspiring. Yes I like working on things better before they have a name, but “Single Page Application” is particularly vague and boring. I think we can do better. Let me think about it…

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