Yaanaikum adi sarukkum ...

As I said in last post, Google is a very innovative company. It has many of the very finest talents in the IT industry. Gmail is a wonderful application that is changing the way web is being used. XMLHttpRequest and async javascript is not new to the web. Its been used in very little places. But Gmail extensively made use of that and created gmail. The rest is a history. Now the combination of XML, Javascript and XMLHttpRequest is put together in a buzz world called Ajax and its driving the world crazy. Every major web technology company is already providing support for Ajax or promised support for Ajax. In the early days of gmail, I myself has tried out recreating an small existing web page with Ajax. With barely no support from any of the IDEs of that time, it was too hard. The worst part making it stable and maintaining it. Conventional techniques of web page state maintenance is all null and void with Ajax - no matter what is the technology used to create dynamic page(JSP, ASP, PHP, etc) Now the user is not going to click on a button and wait for the response. The UI is still available to him and he is allowed to click on any other button. The result is similar to a single threaded application converted to multithreaded application! Ajax is not the only thing gmail introduced to the world. There are several other hard-to-do and highly impossible things that has been accomplished. Have you ever looked at the "Attach file" option? Without showing the browse button or the text box, gmail allows to us to attach a file. Its a really tough thing to make it work. Another impossible thing to do is it allows us to dynamically increment the number of file to attach. (For the curious, here is the reason) I've tried my best to crack down how they do it. But cudn't :-( Can show several examples like that - chat in gmail, spell checker etc, but enough of the positive side.

Now here comes the ugly face of the of Google - application integration. Applications are good as individual units. But integrating them is not that easy. Think of these two applications from Google - Picasa and Google screen saver. With Picasa you can change several settings of an image (contrast, color correction,..) and can do basic fixes (crop, red eye removal, ...) Google screensaver can show pictures when activated. It doesn't respect the changes that Picasa has done on the images. As a result, Google screensaver shows raw unedited pictures. Those pictures look odd and the screensaver is less useful when it can't even rotate the images properly.

Another simple instance. Google has a wonderful spell checker in its search engine. It would automatically suggest you the right spelling (try this), but its another product, blogger.com has one of the worst spell checking engine. It can't even recognize the word blog! Its kind of funny. A company which has one of the best spell checker and which has a separate blog search says blog as a spelling error in its own blogging portal. itha than yaanaikum adi sarukumnu sollurangalo?

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