Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Vaibhaw Pandey, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Industrial IoT, Machine Learning

Linux Containers: Article

AJAX: "XML for Client-Side Computing"

It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side

This article originally appeared in XML-Journal on March 10, 2004

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

However, we have not seen significant use of XML on the client side to date. When we write client-side code, we are likely using HTML/DHTML for browser-based applications, Win32 for Windows desktop applications, and Java Swing/J2ME for Java applications.

The truth of the matter is that XML makes a lot of sense for client-side computing. The difference between client-side computing and server-side computing is that the former is more concerned with user presentation and interaction while the latter is more concerned with business logic and data access. XML has proven to be an effective tool at both the business logic layer and data layer. It is also a great solution to the challenges at the user interface (UI) layer. Two UI layer challenges stand to benefit most obviously from the use of XML.

The first challenge is how to decouple UI description and UI logic. Separating UI description and interaction logic would allow greater flexibility, clearer separation of programmers and designers, and lower development and maintenance costs.

Today, UI description and UI logic are tightly coupled in most client-side programming models. UI description must be written as program code and normally mixed together with UI interaction logic. For example, to create a UI layout for a Win32 dialog, a developer must write Win32 code. Changes to the UI layout would require changing the code, recompiling the program, and redeploying the program. The cost and complexity of this process are high.

XML is an ideal candidate to solve this challenge. UI description can be written as XML documents and UI logic can be written in any programming language. Such separation decouples them and creates tremendous flexibility. XML documents can be created and manipulated by many tools and are human-readable. Additionally, designers with HTML skills will have no problem dealing with XML documents. UI designers can create and edit such documents without touching the UI logic. UI developers are free to code UI logic without getting bogged down in UI design. Such clear separation would significantly lower development and maintenance costs.

Additionally, using XML for UI description would enable better development tools. The best development tools enable visual design of user interfaces in a drag-and-drop fashion. However, these tools are merely "UI code generators" for developers and preclude the participation of people other than developers. For example, Visual Studio .NET generates UI description as C# code and only C# developers have the skill sets to use such code. Furthermore, when developers modify such C# UI code, it is a daunting task for the development tool to parse the C# code, figure out what has been changed, and determine how the change should be reflected in the visual design. With XML for UI description, it would be easier to create tools that enable two-way editing of UI design for nonprogrammers and allow programmers to concentrate on business logic.

The second challenge is how to decouple the UI layer from the underlying platform or device. Companies will always have different computing platforms. If applications can run on any browser, operating system, and hardware device, the cost for development, deployment, maintenance, and support will be dramatically lower.

It's easy to see how business logic can be made platform independent, but it is much harder for UI. Even Java did not adequately solve this challenge. As a result, most client-side programming models are tied to the client-side platform, such as Win32, MFC, Java Swing, and DHTML.

XML is inherently cross-platform. UI designers can use XML to describe their design and the cross-platform nature of XML will enable such information to be communicated accurately to different platforms. Different platforms can choose to present such UIs in a platform-optimized way without requiring UIs to be hard coded into this platform. UI logic can be easily compiled or coded to run cross-platform using available technologies today, such as Java or JavaScript. Even if there are incompatibility issues, they can be resolved by leveraging the flexibility of XML (e.g., XSLT).

Client-side XML is beginning to draw attention. There have been efforts and successes from standards bodies, and startups are beginning to deliver real commercial implementations. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an XML standard for 2D graphics over the Web, is a W3C standard and has gained a lot of support in the industry. XUL, an XML language for describing rich user interfaces, developed by Mozilla, significantly increased awareness of client-side XML. On the commercial implementation side, there have been quite a few successful examples. For example, Starwood Hotels developed a customer response system across its hotel chain (www.nwfusion.com/ee/2003/eecrm.html). The user interface of the application is written using XML and the UI logic is written as client-side beans. It runs inside any 4.0+ browser on major platforms and deploys like a normal Web application with zero client install, but delivers native desktop application performance and functionality. The application has been running nonstop for 14 months, supporting thousands of users distributed across the country. The results were significant: shorter development cycle, huge deployment and maintenance savings, and higher user satisfaction and productivity. It was cited as one of InfoWorld's "Top 100 Innovations" in 2002.

What started as a great success on the server side is just now beginning to show its strengths in client-side programming. We have yet to see the full potential of client-side XML, but can expect to see much more as it drives a client-side revolution.

More Stories By Coach Wei

Coach Wei is founder and CEO of Yottaa, a web performance optimization company. He is also founder and Chairman of Nexaweb, an enterprise application modernization software company. Coding, running, magic, robot, big data, speed...are among his favorite list of things (not necessarily in that order. His coding capability is really at PowerPoint level right now). Caffeine, doing something entrepreneurial and getting out of sleeping are three reasons that he gets up in the morning and gets really excited.

Comments (11) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
XML Journal News Desk 09/14/06 01:22:28 PM EDT

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

n d 08/22/06 10:42:07 AM EDT

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

n d 08/21/06 08:15:09 PM EDT

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

n d 08/21/06 08:05:19 PM EDT

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

n d 08/21/06 07:47:37 PM EDT

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

SYS-CON Australia News Desk 04/05/06 07:49:07 PM EDT

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

SYS-CON Italy News Desk 02/22/06 02:02:42 PM EST

XML is a simple, flexible text format initially designed for large-scale electronic publishing. It is flexible, open, and human-readable, and can be learned easily. XML can also be generated, parsed, analyzed, and transformed easily. It's no wonder that XML has been widely used for server-side computing: J2EE, .NET, and Web services.

Jim Cutillo 09/25/04 08:16:02 PM EDT

If your interested in a true application XML environment, check out ObjectBuilders patented tools. We have been doing application XML for the past ten years. This isn't new, people are finally beginning to realize the benefits.

Pierre Morel 05/06/04 12:05:10 AM EDT

This is exactly what we are proposing as a solution at our site (www.ultrid.com) We have example of complete separation of UI and code. The coding can be done with 10 scripting languages or in Java. The UI language is extendable, so new tags can be created for wrapping Java API that can be use and re-use by all. Tags like Preference, Help System can be integrated whithout writing a single line of code by a person who is not a programmer. Application can be fully localized. Yes, UI can be writing by non-programmer and the code can be separated from it and create by programmers. And this can be zero deploy as an application when the engine is installed on the client computer. Take a look at our SwingSet2 clone all writing in XML, Javascript and some Java class.

Scott Diezen 03/23/04 09:26:18 AM EST

Next generation Windows from Microsoft, Longhorn, will include support for XAML. It is squarely along the lines talked in this article.

jack swany 03/17/04 03:17:42 PM EST

right on!

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...