Useless fact of the day

"Bob’s your uncle" is a way of saying "you’re all set" or "you’ve got it made." It’s a catch phrase dating back to 1887, when British Prime Minister Robert Cecil (a.k.a. Lord Salisbury) decided to appoint a certain Arthur Balfour to the prestigious and sensitive post of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Not lost on the British public was the fact that Lord Salisbury just happened to be better known to Arthur Balfour as "Uncle Bob." In the resulting furor over what was seen as an act of blatant nepotism, "Bob’s your uncle" became a popular sarcastic comment applied to any situation where the outcome was preordained by favoritism. As the scandal faded in public memory, the phrase lost its edge and became just a synonym for "no problem."


Ajax and WebObjects (2)

Pierce T. Wetter III has just posted an outstanding tour de force overview of using AJAX with WebObjects to the webobjects-dev list.

Myth: Rails is a better framework for Ajax then WO.

Reality: WebObjects is actually a better framework for use with AJAX then Rails because it has a better component system then Rails. You spend a lot of time coding little tiny XML and HTML generators when doing Ajax and WO’s component system makes that very DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself).

Myth: WebObjects is hard to use with Ajax.

Reality: WebObjects is easy to use with Ajax, its just that there is only one known library for Ajax-WO support, and its not well documented. Even then the library only goes so far in that it just provides new components to wrap a few tags. I think its more of a documentation gap, not a code gap.

I’m all for plugging that "documentation gap".

Update: Mike Schrag added Pierce’s post to the Programing WebObjects Wiki Book.

AJAX and WebObjects

AJAX (in case you’ve been living under a rock) is Asynchronous Javascript And XML (but in reality it is really a grab bag of technologies) and is one of the key elements of the whole Web 2.0 thing.

AJAX is usually used to improve the user experience for web applications. Using XHTTPRequest, client-side Javascript can communicate with the server minimizing the number of page refreshes necessary to perform a given task. This is usually coupled with Javascript/DOM scripting that provides richer and/or more intuitive UI elements.

Ruby on Rails leads the AJAX charge with outstanding support out of the box. And given the incredible hype surrounding Ruby on Rails, you could be forgiven for thinking that if you wanted to use AJAX, you’d pretty much have to use R-on-R.

Thankfully for old WebObjects developers like myself, that is not the case.

Using the Metaparadigm JSON-RPC bridge Jean-François Veillette built a framework that provides AJAX support for WebObjects applications and released it into the wild. Anjo Krank wonderized that and included it in ProjectWONDER and Mike Schrag has done some great work extending it by adding additional components.

I built a small application using the Ajax.Framework from ProjectWONDER and demoed it at the last tacow meeting. You can get it here.