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AjaxWorld - PHP Next Gen RIA Superhero

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NEW YORK. Ajax and RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) are often all about the 'WOW', the front end graphical dynamic interface.
In a crowded AjaxWorld session, Andi Gutmans CTO of Zend
reminded Ajax developers that you also need a
backend behind Ajax
- a backend that Gutmans hopes will be PHP based.

Gutmans spent much of his AjaxWorld session talking about the benefits of the newly
released Zend Framework 1.5
and how it can help Ajax developers. Zend Framework alone isn't
quite enough though as Gutmans demonstrated a proof of concept application that
provided a push (as opposed to pull) mechanism for content delivery.

In a
nutshell what his test application involved was a seperate Comet server as well
as the LightHTTPd webserver in order to create a dynamic Ajax push application. The
Comet specification is a low latency continuous communication channel between a
browser based application and the server. With Ajax where users are continuously connected
to a data stream, Gutmans commented that Comet is a very important technology to have. For his proof of concept Zend developed a rough Comet implementation in PHP, though there is much work still to be done.

One
of the key deployment challenges of Ajax in
Gutmans' view is the latency issue since Ajax
activity requires many browser to server roundtrips to deliver data.

So, what is the key to improving Ajax and paving the way for the next generation of Ajax apps?

"I
think this year you'll see more work done on the server sisde as opposed to
just the pretty side of RIA," Gutmans said.

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