AjaxWorld – The iPhone Is A Lure

NEW YORK. I’m sitting in the iPhone Summit part of AjaxWorld now in a session titled “Social Computing: the iPhone as an ideal platform“. Sounds like a neat topic right? It is…but too bad the actual session didn’t stick to the topic.

The session is being delivered by Steve Markya CTO of ICEsoft Technologies who essentially used the podium as a platform to pitch his company’s technology – the ICEface open source Java server faces (JSF) project.

The presentation started off on the right track with Markya explaining to the audience that though the iPhone is powerful it is resource constrained in the sense that it doesn’t have the same power as a desktop computer.

There are also implications around network bandwidth – so large applications will suffer from slow applications start times since code would need to load into the device.

Maryka then showed an iPhone demo – not a demo using the iPhone SDK emulator – but a REAL iPhone that he placed under a camera. What he did was a simple demonstration showing a proof of concept application (for a Taxi ordering service) running on the real iPhone.

Neat stuff. Now how do I get some?

ICEfaces itself is an Ajax framework that Maryka explained enables developers to easily create server centric rich internet applications in pure Java.  The system works by extending JSF (java server faces) which is a component model for JavaEE development.

The extensions that ICEfaces adds are :Automatic Ajax (which helps to minimize the number of updates required so you get an optimized/minimized app).,It also includes what Maryka referred to as Ajax push which delivers a server side push for the app deliver.

It all sounded fine and good until Maryka got into giving an overview of the development environment, where he noted at numerous points that there were components inside of the framework that wouldn’t work on an iPhone.

So, a member of the audience piped up and asked if ICEfaces currently has a specific tool for iPhone optimizations (which after all is why people likely came into the session – the iPhone right??). 

Maryka dodged the question a bit noting that iPhone specific optimizations were being worked on

He was then asked when those optimizations would be publicly available – Maryka responded that they would likely be part of their 2.0 roadmap release (the project is currently set for its 1.7 release).

Go figure.

In any event the ability to deliver optimized Java developed applications in a compact push format is a great thing for any mobile platform (including the iPhone). The fact that ICEfaces is open source (and freely available) is also a great thing because it means its very accessable for developers to actually try out and see if it for themselves (and their own iPhones).

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