AJAX and Smart Clients
I always think that it's funny how people want to say that it's either/or. As someone who has been working with AJAX application development for years, I'll say that AJAX has it's share of issues. At the same time I'll say that I can't understand why more web sites are not using AJAX!
AJAX provides a very rich and usable interface for web-based applications. As both Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox both now support extremely rich DOM interfaces, and lots of support of lots of standards, most web sites could be offering a lot more functionality to their visitors. Another huge advantage of AJAX is impact on servers. A good developer can take lot of load off their servers, and improve response time, by pushing more computing down to the client machine.
Smart Clients, however, are the future for many applications. This is most evident with e-mail ... probably the most ubiquitous "Smart Client" application on the planet. We run our e-mail application, and bring all of the mail down to a cache on our local hard disk. We can read and write e-mail any time and any place ... connected or disconnected ... and later synchronize to the servers.
In any case ... it's not about either/or ... instead both of these models are simply enhancements of what we are already using. Both AJAX and Smart Clients are going to be with us for a while!
Mary Jo Foley reports on AJAX vs. SmartClient debate.
Mary Jo Foley: Could AJAX Wash Away 'Smart Clients?'[Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger]