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|Announcing AJAX Libraries API: Speed up your Ajax apps with Google?s infrastructure|
I just got to announce the Google AJAX Libraries API which exists to make Ajax applications that use popular frameworks such as Prototype, Script.aculo.us, jQuery, Dojo, and MooTools faster and easier for developers.
Whenever I wrote an application that uses one of these frameworks, I would picture a user accessing my application, having 33 copies of
At the same time, I was reading research from Steve Souders and others in the performance space that showed just how badly we are doing at providing these libraries. As developers we should setup the caching correctly so we only send that file down when absolutely necessary. We should also gzip the files to browsers that accept them. Oh, and we should probably use a minified version to get that little bit more out of the system. We should also follow the practice of versioning the files nicely. Instead, we find a lot of
When I joined Google I realised that we could help out here. What if we hosted these files? Everyone would see some instant benefits:
This is why we have released the AJAX Libraries API. We sat down with a few of the popular open source frameworks and they were all excited about the idea, so we got to work with them, and now you have access to their great work from our servers.
Details of what we are launching
You can access the libraries in two ways, and either way we take the pain out of hosting the libraries, correctly setting cache headers, staying up to date with the most recent bug fixes, etc.
The first way to access the scripts is simply be using a standard <script src=".."> tag that points to the correct place.
For example, to load Prototype version 220.127.116.11 you would place the following in your HTML:
The second way to access the scripts is via the Google AJAX API Loader's google.load() method.
Here is an example using that technique to load and use jQuery for a simple search mashup:
You will notice that the version used was just "1". This is a smart versioning feature that allows your application to specify a desired version with as much precision as it needs. By dropping version fields, you end up wild carding a field. For instance, consider a set of versions: 1.9.1, 1.8.4, 1.8.2.
Specifying a version of "1.8.2" will select the obvious version. This is because a fully specified version was used. Specifying a version of "1.8" would select version 1.8.4 since this is the highest versioned release in the 1.8 branch. For much the same reason, a request for "1" will end up loading version 1.9.1.
Note, these versioning semantics work the same way when using google.load and when using direct script urls.
Today we are starting with the current versions of the library, but moving forward we will be archiving all versions from now onwards so you can be sure they are available.
For a full listing of the currently supported libraries, see the documentation.
Here I am, talking about what we are doing in two short slides:
This is just the beginning. We obviously want to add more libraries as you find them useful. Also, if you squint a little you can see how this can extend even further.
The bottom line, and what I am really excited about, is what this could all mean for Web developers if this happens. We could be removed of the constant burden of having to re-download our standard libraries all the time. What other platform makes you do this?! Imagine if you had to download the JRE everytime you ran a Java app! If we can remove this burden, we can spend more time flushing out functionality that we need, and less time worrying about the actual download bits. I am all for lean, but there is more to life.
I want to acknowledge the other work that has been done here. Some libraries such as jQuery and Dean Edwards Base were already kind of doing this by hot linking to their Google Code project hosting repository. We thought this was great, but we wanted to make it more official, and open it up to libraries that don't use our project hosting facilities.
Also, AOL does a great job of hosting Dojo already. We recommend using them for your Dojo needs, but are proud to also offer the library. Choice is good. Finally, Yahoo! placed the YUI files on their own CDN for all to use.
Read more at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/ajaxian/~3/299163658/announcing-ajax-libraries-api-speed-up-your-ajax-apps-with-googles-infrastructure.
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