Monday, April 02, 2007

Now Calling All Presentation Layer Architects!

Web 2.0 has changed the way we think about Internet browsing and approach Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML). A page viewed in most common browsers today, even without AJAX can be carefully-crafted-attention-grabber-piece-of-interactive imagination. If your page has nothing dynamic (not those pesky little advertisements), you better not dream of customer conversion online. Technology such as Flash was predominant market force for dynamic web experience for long time but due to its limitations around bulky file size and non-SEO site, Flash has become a just a tool to deliver tutorials, small widgets, video, short movie etc. Dynamic HTML is around for long time but war between browsers never allowed market to harness true power. Today time has changed and it’s demanding; new generation of web browsers as well as people of web 2.0 generation have changed the way we think of web page and HTML.

Today, HTML page is like a playing field; a field full of events that occur at a rapid rate sometimes as expected and sometimes completely random. Every event can be as useful as customer conversion if utilized in right fashion. HTML snippets interacting in dynamic experience model, tracking events, analyzing and optimizing in real time is not the future we are waiting for, it’s the present we are living in.

With much pressure on the User Experience team to create dynamic, usable, and interactive experience models there is a subtle need for an architect to articulate technical aspects of solution on browser side. The role of the Presentation Layer Architect is to create the blueprint or model for page dynamics. Presentation Layer Architects may not care how backend systems work but care for data that backend system can provide carefully crafting a design that is efficient but dynamic. Sprite, Animation, Drag and Drop, DOM Management, Events Tracking, Connection Management, Web Remoting etc are expertise without which any dynamic page would not scale to the needs of web 2.0 in future.

Presentation Layer Architect can be viewed as an overhead for a lean development project with business focused solely on delivery but it’s only the right Presentation Layer Architect who can create designs for page level interaction model which will be efficient, dynamic, sustainable and scalable for future development of same web real estate with new possibilities that web 2.0 promises.

Salim Hemdani