Thursday 6 October 2005

Rant of the day: Microsoft "invented" AJAX?

I am so sick of Microsoft shills popping up everywhere to mention, "we invented Ajax."

Shoulders of giants, people! Just about every innovation has been built on top of other people's work. Look at the IE7 beta for example: a blatant Firefox ripoff.

Outlook Web Access, even in its 2003 incarnation, is a very poor example of an Ajax app. The term means more than simply sending information in the background. OWA's interface design is still fundamentally page based, so the real-world performance is much slower than something like Scalix.

(See also: more about AJAX and how it differs from conventional web methods.)

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Anonymous said...

How does something like "First to use background javascript in a widespread and useful method" sound?

I agree that they didn't do a great job, but why are you sick of people giving credit where it's due, even if it *is* to microsoft?

Richi Jennings said...

Not at all sick of people giving genuine credit. That's not what I was ranting about. My primary beef is with PR shills. There appears to be a determined campaign to "educate" the public that "MS invented Ajax."

I call shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Scalix?!? Can you say Zimbra?

Richi Jennings said...

When Zimbra works with Outlook clients as well as Scalix, let's talk. But trust me: that's a *long* way off.

And that hosted demo is sloooowwww...

Richi Jennings said...

Dear Mr. anonymous, is it at all possible that you're a comment spammer?

Anonymous said...

Your rant on this topic seems particularly biased. Microsoft DID invent what has now been termed AJAX, it was released/utilized as early at 1996 as 'XMLHTTP' and has been in development before that since as early as 1993.

Microsoft is about marketing, and there is no problem in taking credit for something that their corporation or subsidiary produced, regardless if they've manipulated others in the process. It is business, possibly dirty business, but business all the same. In business, to make money, you keep your name credible and before the public.

The rest of the industry, in regards to this technology, is having to play catch-up - and OWA isn't the only Microsoft project/product under development that uses this method, according to a close source with Microsoft I've recently spoken with.

This is the tip of the ice-berg, and Google is opening a can of worms along with many others; that is the good thing, competition spurs innovation!

Anonymous said...

Allow me to nitpick: since AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, and JavaScript was NOT invented by Microsoft, is it safe to say that Microsoft can't take credit for the entire suite of technologies that is AJAX?

Richi Jennings said...

Hello, yet another "anonymous" apologist for Microsoft.

Let me repeat: I don't have a problem with Microsoft reminding people that they did this clever thing with the XMLHTTP Active-X control back in the day, but I *do* have a problem with two things:

1. Claiming they invented every part of what we now neatly call Ajax.
2. Sending hundreds of "anonymous" shills out onto the web to spread the gospel according to BillG and Wagg-Ed.

PS, Mr. Anon: does the US Air Force know you're doing this on their network? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, someone that can interpret a resolving address, how impressive (sarcasm) - and yes they do, in fact two others in the field here are reading this drivel. I'm only posting as anonymous due to not having created a 'blogger' account. If you're upset by this turn of events, you can reach me at and we can talk about it later.

As for Microsoft, of course they CANT take credit for development of asynchronous javascript, but they CAN take credit for the concept on which AJAX was built and a relative technology(s) they invented that offers proof-of-concept.

Mind you, I am a FreeBSD man myself when it comes to operating system preferences and a staunch proponent of opensource/openstandard, but that can't nor shouldn't keep myself or anyone from giving credit where credit is due.

By the way, could you please provide literal examples of these 'shills' you're referring too - they obviously aren't that widespread if the dozen people so far that I've asked still haven't seen them (and if anyone gets spammed in the US, it is the military).

You were much too generalized in your initial post which is why another one of us 'Microsoft apologists' went and called you out.

Anonymous said...

I would also agree, they did implement it poorly, JD.

Richi Jennings said...

Jon, listen, I agree with you! My point isn't to dispute or undermine what the OWA team did, but to blow off some steam about the shill army.

Sorry if you find my writing "too generalized." It's my blog. It's what I do here. My formal writing is over at Ferris Research, computerworld, CirleID, and Fixing Email.

As for proof, I only have to look at my referrer logs to see who's searching on what terms. and (MS's PR agency) come up a lot with terms like who invented ajax. You'll note from another post on this blog that I'm also suspecting that another company is engaging in this kind of malarky.

Anonymous said...

Richi, I can understand your frustration with Microsoft's current efforts and longstanding marketing monopoly they impose on users from all backgrounds.

Business ethics may be at question, but I don't forsee there being any stop to the assault onthe viewing public.

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