This is a part of the Mobile Ajax FAQ which I, Rocco and Bryan are working on .. Due to my travel last week at MIT and Ajaxworld, that’s been a bit delayed but we hope to release it this week.
Meanwhile, I am putting out a few questions from the FAQ so we get ongoing feedback
Here is one ..
What is the relationship between Mobile Ajax and Mobile Widgets?
Most widget engines are using the asynchronous part uniformly but are making their own changes to the rendering(display) part. While this leads to fragmentation of Widget technology, the fact still remains that Ajax i.e. Asynchronous I/O and visual rendering are the core technologies underpinning widgets
From simple beginnings, Widgets(powered by Ajax), are taking a life of their own(for example Widgets calling other widgets).
When it comes to the mobile environment, we are seeing the same phenomenon i.e. we see Mobile Widgets powered by Mobile Ajax and also some fragmentation
Also, we are seeing the first attempts of standardization from the W3C
The significance of Mobile Widgets lies in two factors
a) As full web browsers become the norm on mobile devices(by that we mean a browser supporting Web technologies like Javascipt, CSS etc), Widgets can span the Web and the Mobile Web. This is very significant because Long Tail applications are now possible and we will now have the Web as a mechanism to distribute mobile applications(widgets). With Widgets calling other widgets, we could soon see an entire Widget framework leading to Long Tail applications powered by Widgets
Opera is already doing this with their Widget platform and we expect Apple dashboard widgets may also appear in the iPhone
b) Offline widgets are an interesting variant. For offline widgets to work, we need an API which allows the widget to work offline and then resync/transfer data when the connection is available again
Thus, Mobile Ajax powers Mobile Widgets and Mobile Widgets are significant because they span the Web and the Mobile Web(for instance Apple dashboard widgets). By doing so, they enable Long Tail mobile applications(because the Web now acts as a distribution platform for Mobile Widgets)