AJAX And JSON Are Making JavaScript Very Popular

I’ve been doing a lot of work with JavaScript lately. JavaScript has become very popular due to the AJAX craze. Every Web 2.0 site has to do something impressive with AJAX so web developers are becoming more creative with JavaScript. There are now many JavaScript libraries available with increasingly sophisticated features. I’ve even seen JavaScript libraries for logging errors and doing unit tests.

However I’ve only become interested in JavaScript because JSON makes it easy for me to create small web applications that consume data from popular web sites. I can now whip one up in about two hours. If a web site only provides data in XML I have to create a Yahoo! Pipe to convert it to JSON so I have created 5 pipes so far.

I’m building a collection of client side web applications in my Notes help file. This collection currently includes:

  1. Stickam Friend Online Presence – using a Yahoo! Pipe to get the data as JSON
  2. LiveVideo Featured Videos – also uses a Yahoo! Pipe
  3. Amazon Wish List – notice the number of JavaScript books I’ve added
  4. Pownce Public Note List
  5. Technorati Blog Search – this one allows you to enter a search term and the number of posts
  6. Flickr Search – enter a search term to get photos tagged with that text
  7. Yahoo! Live – shows ten broadcasts with thumbnail images
  8. eBay Item Search – search for items on eBay
  9. Yahoo! Video Search – different than Yahoo! Live. This allows you to search for online videos
  10. ISBN Book Search – search for ISBN numbers based on a book title

Eventually I will create a portfolio section on my web site for these small web applications. With each one I try to improve my JavaScript code. I am using the jQuery JavaScript Library to write less code. I especially like its DOM manipulation features. Recently I started to use jQuery’s $.getJSON method. I was popping up an alert for every object property to test for the JSON data scheme but now I combine them into one alert which is less annoying. I think I’ll make some further improvements by logging the object properties and using the jQuery method of adding event handlers.

Fortunately all the social networking sites like to provide developer APIs, encouraging web developers to create applications using their public data. You can keep on top of the APIs available at: http://www.programmableweb.com/. I have not created any Facebook applications yet but it is on my list. My current priority is RSS feeds which can be converted to JSON and the seesmic API. Seesmic is a beta site for conducting video conversations.

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