One of the best examples of a mash-up being made possible by the AJAX programming language is the work of Dr. Hans Rosling and his GapMinder program at Gapminder.org (Phelps, Cseh, 2009). Dr. Rosling has taken the data set from the United Nations and added in analytics to determine the correlation of income to health. He is a regular speaker at TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) Conferences and is considered one of the top 20 presenters of all time at this distinguished and prestigious global conference. His insights into the correlation of income and health have been widely used by governments globally and he is a frequent lecturer at the U.S. State Department. Dr. Rosling's insights are well worth listening to on the TED site and also working with his Gapminder.org application as well. If JAX had not been invented and the rapid gains in programming performance not achieved, it is doubtful Dr. Rosling would have been able to gain such signikficant insights into the terabytes of data the U.N. And other agencies now share with him. Yet this is just one of thousands of examples of how thought leaders are reorienting what society knows and understands by being able to analyze data more accurately and efficiently with technologies the Internet is literally rushing into existence based on the unmet needs of its users. The implications of rapid Web application development platforms including AJAX are discussed next from the standpoint of its impact on businesses and society in greater depth.
Impact of Web-based Application Development and AJAX on Business
Given AJAX programming languages;' many benefits over HTML and previous generation approaches to development, it is understandable why it is beginning to dominate Web-based application development. Not only do AJAX-based applications provide significant speed increases over previous-generation applications based on page-based technologies they are also designed for prototyping an entire application prior to writing it as well (MacVittie, 2007). With many of the Fortune 1000 companied adopting AJAX as the development platform of choice for their enterprise-wide systems, XML as the integration technology is also getting much greater focus as well (Serrano, Aroztegi, 2007). This is leading to forward-thinking companies including General Electric (GE), Hewlett-Packard (HP) and WalMart all working to standardize on a high performance version of AJAX for supporting secured transactions over XML-based Internet connections and networks (MacVittie, 2007). As a result of these advantages and the advances made in security AJAX is being used today for the online ordering, product configuration and customer service systems on websites as well (MacVittie, 2007).
Given the fact that users have come to expect more and more data being available in their Web-based applications and the delivery of it to be personalized and fast, AJAX has also been expanded to support much greater levels of integration as well (Robertson, Saxton, Van Gucht, Vansummeren, 2009). This aspect of being able to integrate data from XML data streams for other Web applications' use, integrating to legacy systems in companies and also from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for pricing and product data for example, is establishing AJAX as a standard in corporations. As more corporations adopt AJAX as a standard there will continue to be more integration options defined and greater use of mash-ups in mainstream Web applications as a result. This is going to greatly enrich the user experience online as it will present data in entirely new contexts and with entirely new relationships.
Impact of Web-based Application Development on Society
Google fans globally don't realize it but they are reaping the benefits of AJAX application development advances daily (MacVittie, 2007). Google has customized their own version of AJAX, which is called Python. The Google version of AJAX is quickly revolutionizing how the world searches out and finds information online. In speaking previously about how quickly Internet users' expectations are increasing with regard to application performance, AJAX is a catalyst of these expectations growing continually. The one areas this is particularly true is in social networking applications including Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter and many others discussed in Appendix B of this paper. AJAX is making it possible for these applications to deliver real-time updates and also stay secure and reliable enough to scale