· 2 min read

Garrett is the Father of Ajax like Gore was the Father of the Internet

I saw an ad recently for the Real World AJAX One-day Seminar and the contents and discussions all sounce useful.

However, I had a chuckle when I saw that Jesse James Garrett, who coined the phrase AJAX in his original essay on the subject, was labeled as the “Father of AJAX”. I chuckled because in Jesse’s own article, he says:

Ajax isn’t a technology. It’s really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:

  • standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
  • dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
  • data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
  • asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
  • and JavaScript binding everything together.

Now, last I checked Jesse had no specific hand in creating XHTML, CSS, the DOM, XML/XSLT, JavaScript, or the XMLHttpRequest object. Jesse’s absolutely right that Ajax is not a single technology but an approach and single word that encompasses multiple languages, standards, and APIs.

So, the question is, how is Jesse (who certainly had a hand in coining the phrase Ajax) the “father of Ajax”? It reminds of the time when Al Gore was saying he invented the Internet (in a talk the VP gave on CNN):

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

Just like Al Gore, who may have supported the Internet, did not invent it I think it’s a bit far-fetched to say that Jesse is the “Father of AJAX”. Coining a phrase and inventing languages and technologies are not the same thing. Saying James Gosling is the “Father of Java” doesn’t bother me because he had a hand in creating it. But, please, lets put all of this AJAX stuff into perspective.

Jesse’s done a great service to us all by helping simplify our understanding of multiple technologies and calling it by something everyone seems to agree on. However, people like me were doing AJAX back in 1999 and 2000 well before it was popular (it was just a good architecture and design).

Now, I understand that the folks who are hosting the seminar need to attract people and saying the “Father of AJAX” is coming to their event may sound like a big deal but it’s a little disingenous. I hope Jesse gets rich off all this fame. I like seeing smart guys succeeding.

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