Re: [apps-discuss] AJAX is the new NAT

Carsten Bormann <cabo@tzi.org> Wed, 23 March 2011 20:20 UTC

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From: Carsten Bormann <cabo@tzi.org>
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Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] AJAX is the new NAT
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So, AJAX appears to be the new NAT.

(For those who weren't there in the 1990s: the IETF closed their eyes
with respect to the emerging pervasiveness of NATs and continued
designing protocols that ignored NATs and then didn't win.
I was hoping we would never do that again.)

(For those who weren't there in the 2000s: AJAX has indeed made the
browser a useful application delivery platform.  Once a node can
control the code on *both* communicating peers, it can do interesting
things without having to standardize much, as shown in RFC 3320 and as
demonstrated nicely in AJAX.  If you read German, there is even a
somewhat dated book from 2005 still online at
http://www.teialehrbuch.de/Kostenlose-Kurse/AJAX/ the initial chapters
of which explain why this form of mobile code is winning.)

Now for 2011:

What we need to do is acknowledge that AJAX has happened.

The Web hasn't been "hypertext" for a long time now.  With all the
negative (and not so negative) effects, which were nicely tabulated by
Mark Nottingham in this thread.

What we also need to do is help steer the standards-based foundation
so that it encourages each and every single developer to favor
standards-based (or standards-like) APIs/protocols even in this brave
new world.  The persistence of REST in the AJAX world has helped a
lot; other, community-driven standards such as JSON have even been
picked up by the IETF (even though RFC 4627 is labeled Informational).
But, for example the rigid same-origin policy of the existing browser
world makes standards-based APIs less useful though -- AJAX apps can
only use their own servers' APIs, so there is less incentive to offer
AJAX APIs for consumption by other apps/clients.

The IETF needs to *help* the AJAX world, not close our eyes again.
Help AJAX get better, get more secure.  Get more standards-based, more
open.

Gruesse, Carsten