By this time next year, Web sites not developed using the Ajax technique "will simply not be cool enough to use," an Internet analyst said Tuesday." (Ajax is) the latest fashion in Web design," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president of research firm Gartner, at Gartner's annual regional conference in Tel Aviv.
The good news for businesses that want to employ Ajax: "It's no longer just for rocket scientists. A few years ago you needed to invest a lot of money" to create Ajax Web sites, Smith said, "but now there are toolkits available." That makes it the "easiest and quickest attention-getting visual" for a Web site, Smith concluded.
The research firm, noted for its predictions on technology and business, summed up by positing that there is an 80 percent chance that "By 2008, Ajax-style (sites) will be the dominant style for Rich Internet Application interfaces."
But part of the difference of Web 2.0 is that the character of the Internet is changing, according to the company's findings. Users are creating their own content on sites like MySpace, posting their pictures on Flickr, and tagging their favorite Web sites on del.icio.us, Smith said. Things are social and participatory.
Gartner analysts expected most businesses to rush out and try Ajax without effectively utilizing Web 2.0's community, social and user-driven aspects. In this case, "the result (of adopting Ajax and other new technologies like Really Simple Syndication and Mashups) will have minimal business impact," Gartner research said.
His advice to businesses was to get on board -- "Management should lead cultural change by example ... by blogging to the staff. This sends the message that this is the way the company should think."
"Denial is pointless," Smith said to sum up. "Don't just roll your eyes -- this is going to be a really big thing when it all comes together."
"(Web 2.0) will change the way you work, bank, shop and get entertained radically. Again. Really," he said.