Archive for August, 2005

Ajax and Security

Monday, August 29th, 2005

The other day I was having a discussion on Ajax and one thing that stood out as a concern for using it was “security”. If data is available openly as XML over HTTP, it is going to be a cake walk for smart hacker. Some of the issues raised related to security threat are:

  • data protection
  • protecting source code
  • protecting web services

My initial thoughts go this way:

Data Protection: It is not necessary to use XML for data communication. GMail does not use XML in its Ajax, but serialize “js objects” directly with some built-in security mechanism.

Source Code: I think we should never place any code in presentation layer that might impose security thread. To my knowledge, Ajax doesn’t force anything specific to be done in code. It is more about how we like to design our application’s front end to make it faster. It is in our hand to decide what in our site a security issue is and how it has to be tackled.

Protecting Web Services: AJAX, has not made any changes to the Web Services. The threads present currently, hold good with Ajax.

I am looking for more opinions and the different security threads that Ajax imposes and might hamper in making an application a rich web client .

Updated 2nd September,05

Here is another view about Ajax security

Gartner rates Google’s Sidebar best in the class

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

The beta version of Google Desktop (version 2) which was launched on Monday, has been quoted as ” a real advance and a step forward over other technologies like Yahoo’s Konfabulator and Apple’s Widgets.”
It features a new “sidebar” which sits on screen displaying the user’s latest emails, information from RSS feeds, photos, weather and stock reports as well as faster and more tailored access to Google search facilities. Additional features include a scratch pad to type and save notes and a quick view of recently or frequently visited websites plus an embedded search bar with Microsoft outlook to search emails.
Looking at the latest releases first with Google Desktop and then with Google Talk, Google is all set the shake the Market.

Here is one of the reviews about google Desktop 2

REVIEW: Google Desktop 2

Get ready for Google Talk

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Google is all set to unveil its own instant messaging platform called Google Talk. Looking at its previous releases we can expect IM to be unique among all the existing IM’s. Google’s presence in IM will fill the significant gap in offerings that Google has compared to other portals like MSN, Yahoo. Some reports mention that Google Talk will go beyond text-based instant messaging using a computer keyboard to let users hold voice conversations with other computer users. If it is really true then Google will also place itself in VoIP space competing with Skype which has really attracted a lot of people. Looking forward to Google Talk.

Here is the link to Google Talk

Another Acquisition

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

BEA today announced to acquire Plumtree Portal software. Plumtree is a Java server based Portal combining portal, content management, collaboration, and integration and search technologies in one solution. Plumtree has various product suits:

  • The Plumtree Corporate Portal
  • Plumtree Collaboration Server
  • Plumtree Content Server
  • Plumtree Search Server
  • Plumtree Studio Server
  • Integration Services

Plumtree has proven itself from time to time though there has been some areas where Plumtree has not done particularly well. Some of those are

  • Cross-platform support: Though plumtree is moving into the cross-platform market, it falls short in cross-platform support in comparison to other players in market like Epicentric.
  • Cost: Standard gadgets cost extra in case of plumtree while some of the other players includes them with their standard packages.
  • Layout Design: Plumtree’s options for placing gadgets on the pages for layout design are nothing special; they simply let you choose a column for the content. Other portals, like Netegrity’s, are better than Plumtree’s in this area.
  • Structured/Unstructured Data: Plumtree only support unstructured data. But , a spokesperson for Plumtree, said Corporate Portal can support structured data since it tap into a wide variety of meta data.

Now with BEA acquiring Plumtree we need to wait and see how BEA strengthen Plumtree Portal and what impact it will have on Weblogic Portal Server.

Alfresco Named Trend-Setter

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

Alfresco, an Open Source Content Management framework has been named a “Trend-Setter” by KMWorld magazine. KMWorld recognized Alfresco’s open source content repository for its usability, rapid rate of industry adoption and anticipated future impact. I never got a chance to explore Alfresco but Alfresco review shows that the product has lot to offer in the ECM space. Watch out this space for my thoughts about Alfresco.

Isomorphic’s SmartClient

Thursday, August 18th, 2005

I came across Isomorphic’s SmartClient when one of the client was looking for rich web client development product. At first I didn’t understand what it is all about and that really invoked lot of interest. SmartClient is basically a rich web client that provides an open DHTML/AJAX client engine, rich user interface components, and metadata-driven client-server databinding systems, for rich GUI, zero-install web applications It provides Support for various standard browsers along with proprietary and Open source application servers and databases. Its web presentation layer includes:

  • Foundation components
  • Event Handling
  • Controls
  • Forms
  • Grids
  • Trees
  • Layout
  • Data binding
  • Themes/ skins

There are many demo applications as well as sample code snippets that are really useful while developing rich web client. SmartClient application can be developed in

XML: for declarative user interface and /or data definitions

JavaScript: for client side user interface logic, custom components, and procedural user interface definitions

Java or C#: for server-side integration and data/service binding

Its worth while to look at SmartClient if planning to build rich web client though it takes a while to load JavaScript client engine and might act as bottleneck for dial up users.


Magnolia and OpenWFE

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

Recently Magnolia announced v2.1 CMS suite with number of new enhancements to their existing suite including rich-text editor choices, XML based import-export, native search etc. One of the best things about Magnolia is that it is built on Java Content Repository (JSR 170) standards. I am still in process of exploring its features. One of the things that I was looking for was the workflow process. Magnolia recently announced its alliance with OpenWFE, a cross-platform open source workflow and process management suite. OpenWFE is one of the select workflow environments that implements the complete set of standard workflow control patterns, a feature that even most commercial rivals lack, and which brings unprecedented expressiveness to workflow definitions. Looking forward to hear more about workflow process in Magnolia.

Now Yahoo with Contextual Ads

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

We all know about Google’s AdSense which help website publishers of all sizes to display relevant Google ads on their websites and make money.
Now its time for Yahoo to come out with something similar. Yahoo is expected to launch Contextual Ads program which will let publishers place Yahoo’s contextually relevant listings on their sites and receive a share of the revenue generated by them. It will also provide option for publishers to display ads that are consistent with the look and feel of their site.

Read the complete story at Yahoo Plans Contextual Ads.

The two giants are trying to keep pace with each other but its again Google which emerged out as leader. Google is first with 47 percent of all searches conducted online while Yahoo! stands at 22 percent. Among others, My Way Search is the most significant that has made its way into the top five with two percent of all searches.

RICO – Open Source Java Script library for Rich Internet Applications

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

RICO is an open source Java Script library which provide full Ajax support helping to add Ajax to any HTML page. It provides JavaScript object called AjaxEngine which define standard XML for Ajax response with a way to specify targeted HTML elements.

I played around for sometime with RICO and the demos and can easily rate it as one of the best client-side user interface tool for Ajax I have come across.

Adding Ajax to a HTML page is pretty straight:

  • Register Ajax request Handler
  • Register Ajax response Handler
  • Invoke Ajax request with appropriate events

With RICO you will find a drag-and-drop handler with constrained targets, cinematic stuff for sizing, positioning, corner rounding, fading and some animation effects which makes you get the hard things right the first time you develop.


Get listed with the Searching King – Google

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Whenever you want to search, whether on your desktop or internet , the Search King Google is an obvious choice. That leads to question, how can I get listed with Google? How can my site be listed within first 10 searches ? etc..etc..

I was reading an article about listing with Google and here is an extract:

  • Never play tricks with Google. Do not use cloaking, doorway pages or hidden text. There has been instances where websites has been dropped from Google due to use of above mentioned unethical methods.
  • Google uses “Ranking Algorithm” to rank each page it indexed. So if you want to improve ranking of your page try to get good incoming links to your site.
  • Optimise site pages to tell Google what your site is all about. There are free software’s available which helps to optimize pages and improve ranking with Google.

Keep Searching with Google…..