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Do Try This at Home: Ajax Bookmarking, Cross-site Scripting, and Other Web 2.0 Browser Hacks

Location: 2003 Level: Intermediate

This session will examine the ways in which standards bodies, browser vendors and library/plug-in authors are shaping the future of our foundational web technologies – and how individual developers can participate in that process.

The current playing field for web technologies

  • Web pages vs. web applications
  • IE8 vs. Firefox 3 vs. Safari 3.1 vs. Opera 9.5
  • Standards vs. “embrace and extend”
  • WC3 vs. WHATWG
  • Ajax vs. RIAs
  • Open Web vs. Closed Web
  • Facebook vs. Open Social
  • Walled gardens vs. ecosystems

Where do I fit in? What’s the right thing to do?

The future of the web lies in the tension between emerging “standards” and actual standards

Draft specs take forever, but live implementations are being carved out one feature at a time

  • CSS3
  • CSS Layout
  • JavaScript 2
  • DOM storage/Client database storage

Many exciting technologies emerged in the wild, then gained legitimacy

  • DOMContentLoaded
  • The selector mechanism
  • SVG and Canvas
  • Ajax Navigation
  • Microformats

Who will determine what tomorrow’s web looks like?

  • The role of Ajax libraries
  • The role of browser extensions and plugins (Google Gears, Mozilla Prism)
  • The role of proprietary runtimes (Flex and Silverlight)
  • The role of developers

So what can I do?

  • Comment on draft specs
  • Participate actively in open-source projects (Gears, etc.)
  • Get down and dirty with the latest and greatest browsers

Tools for participating

  • Web research & RSS: Become a beat reporter
  • Browser vendor websites – yes, even Microsoft’s
  • Debuggers for everyone – not just Firebug

Case studies

Offline storage

  • Client database storage/DOM storage
  • Dojo Offline
  • Google Gears

Ajax history and bookmarking

  • Really Simply History
  • dsHistory
  • IE8 Ajax navigation

Cross-site scripting

  • xssinterface
  • Firefox 3 cross-window messaging

Final thoughts: It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission

Brian Dillard

Pathfinder Associates

Brian J. Dillard joined Pathfinder Associates in August 2007. His title: RIA Evangelist. After 12 years of focusing on the view layer of large consumer webapps, his role at Pathfinder Associates is one of research, development and ongoing commentary. He prototypes new rich UI features; contributes to open-source and client projects; and otherwise helps build Pathfinder’s competency in the Ajax world. A frequent contributor to the Agile Ajax blog, he is also the project lead on Really Simple History, a JavaScript library for Ajax bookmark and back-button management. Prior to his current assignment, Brian spent significant chunks of time at Orbitz, United Airlines, Reflect.com and Townsend Analytics, Ltd. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from Michigan State University. Brian is passionate about JavaScript but also makes room in his heart for cycling, comic books, science fiction, tattoos and other pastimes befitting a computer nerd.