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Friday, June 30, 2006

File transfer in the world of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) and Web 2.0

AJAX fashionista

Before people can pin down exactly what Web 2.0 is, the most tangible buzz for gearheads, like yours truly, in Silicon Valley and beyond has been the use of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML). How it can be used. Who is using it. What people are saying about it.

Envision my glee when I learn that Accellion SFTA has been using AJAX as part of its implementation for a while.

AJAX is cool

References for AJAX background information abound; so, I would not belabor the issue except to say that it is très chic because Google is using it to make their UI slick. On the other hand, according to a Network World article on AJAX, enterprise users are weary of complex implementation and its potential impact on network performance.

AJAX inside Accellion Secure File Transfer Appliance SFTA

The key advantage of using AJAX is the streamlined UI via its ability to bring processing to the client side using browser native tools such as JavaScript, XML, HTML, and HTTP calls. AJAX was first implemented as part of the Accellion Courier SFTA 4.5 release to streamline the user UI. For example, instead of popping up another browser window to transfer a file (think how it works with Yahoo mail right now), the user would stay within the same browser window (think Gmail from Google).

Release 5.0 of Accellion Courier SFTA extended the product features to include folder transfer beyond 10GB. Here too, AJAX played a key role in implementations such as LDAP validation and dynamic table structure. So, not only that you can send and receive folders instead of just files with SFTA, all interaction will stay within the same browser window.

And, people thought file transfer solutions cannot possibly be sexy. ("Au contraire," say I while queueing up Right Said Fred's shirt song.)

AJAX Concerns for Enterprise IT

New technology, even if it is the re-combination of existing protocols, always comes with its own quirks and the first issue that Network World raised is the fact that it takes a good team to get the AJAX implementation right. In this respect, being an appliance maker, Accellion has the advantage of being able to focus the engineering resources on a self-contained form factor which improves the output quality while shortens the development time required for the AJAX implementation.

Drawback number two, according the same article, is the potential impact on network performance. In the context of Accellion SFTA, this issue is alleviated by a great team and Accellion's unique knowledge from the years of optimizing global file transfer performance since our CDN days. For example, sorting, LDAP validation, and dynamic table structures are all done on the browser side using AJAX to eliminate the associated server CPU load as well as to minimize the round trip communications with the server.

AJAX, Web 2.0, Accellion, and you

So, are you still struggling with technologies from Web 1.0 to let users send large files securely across the world?

Join Accellion. Implement a Courier SFTA. So you, too, can be a member of the AJAX toting Web 2.0 set - with or without Right Said Fred.


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