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Adobe’s Spry Framework for AJAX

By Drew McLellan | May 12th, 2006 | Filed in Adobe TF, General, Validation

Adobe Labs Spry Framework for AJAX – friendly to use, but poor support for standards.

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Adobe Labs have introduced a preview of their new Spry Framework for AJAX, which aims to demystify AJAX for a non-technical audience. Adobe are attempting to enable anyone with basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills to be able to harness the power of AJAX within their pages.

(October 2007: It should be noted that since this assessment, the Spry Framework has undergone revision. We are currently assessing the newest version and will report our findings.)

Sadly, at this initial stage it seems that the goal of easy-of-use has been held higher than even the most basic principals of valid markup and accessibility best practise. Opting to make implementation as simple as possible, Spry uses custom attributes and old-school obtrusive JavaScript techniques, welding the behaviour layer firmly to the content.

On the subject of custom attributes, Adobe’s Donald Booth responds:

We were trying to stay away from custom attributes for validation reasons. But, there was no way to implement if...then statements with out one. And we were defining the datasets within the class attribute. This was troublesome, and since we were already breaking validation with the if...then, we decided to go to all custom attributes.

Replace “breaking validation” with “breaking our customers’ pages” at your own discretion.

Of course, Spry is just a preview and Adobe are actively soliciting feedback. As it currently stands, the framework is certainly not ready for prime-time, and if it’s the sort of framework you’d otherwise find useful, we’d encourage you to investigate it and offer constructive feedback.

Your Replies

#1 On May 12th, 2006 4:55 pm Scott replied:

Quick, start an Adobe Taskforce!

#2 On May 13th, 2006 7:16 am Steve Tucker replied:

Dont mean to sound like an old fuddy-duddy but if people require DIY wizard software to implement features such as Ajax then they should either learn it properly or hire a professional. Non-validating software such as these have been present thoughout the late 90s and still exist now. Take MS Frontpage or Netobjects Fusion, for example. Such softwares only dilute the quality of the internet we have today, and further delay the push for full implementation of standards.

#3 On May 13th, 2006 9:31 am Will Prescott replied:

Seems a bit of a curious move on Adobe’s part. Anyone who attended the Carson summit in London earlier in the year and witnessed the Adobe sales presentation would have heard that Flex 2 can supposedly do everything that AJAX can do and so much more. Interesting that they’re now so keen to jump into bed with AJAX when the whole focus of that presentation seemed to be to dismiss it.

#4 On May 14th, 2006 2:30 am replied:

[...] Adobe launches its new Framework for AJAX Spry doesn’t seem a nice way to go on the webstandards side (tags: ajax webstandards adobe ria) [...]

#5 On May 14th, 2006 3:48 pm Mark Sergienko replied:

Not sure, but couldn’t they use namespaces, attribute prefixes or something to make it validate?
The rest actually looks like a great idea to me (template kinda language with basic logic and xpath may make things easy really)

#6 On May 18th, 2006 9:48 pm Sam Lerner replied:

Indeed. From what I can tell by reading up on it, namespacing is on the way so that will hopefully become a non-issue soon. Aside from that, I don’t see anything inherently non standard about it. And, unless I’m missing something, it doesn’t make sense to compare this to Frontpage or NetObject Fusion…those are wysiwyg authoring tools…this looks like it’s simply a lightweight javascript framework for helping you “do AJAX”. Nothing wrong with that. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

#7 On May 18th, 2006 9:53 pm Sam Lerner replied:

Just found this interesting podcast interview with one of Adobe’s Spry guys. I actually think these guys are on to something.

#8 On July 11th, 2006 9:18 am pete feeney replied:

Having used it an implemented a web site with this framework, I would warn people to look at the license issue with this project.

#9 On July 25th, 2006 1:11 pm » Blog Archive » replied:

[...] Adobe’s Spry framework overlooks best practices Drew McClellan of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) writes about Adobe’s new endeavor, Spry Framework for AJAX. Its goal is to “demystify” Ajax for developers and designers with basic HTML/CSS skills. [...]

#10 On August 22nd, 2006 7:23 am andreas jobst replied:

I tried the prerelease 1.3 and it`s really quit easy to work with this framework. There are a view things that do not validate but maybe the final release will solve these problems.

#11 On September 22nd, 2006 9:12 am Mark Thristan replied:

I agree with Andreas. I’ve only had a quick fiddle with Spry, but it is supremely easy to work with – it only took a few minutes to knock up a working accordian control. Generally speaking there are – as mentioned – a few custom attributes which break validity, and a few tags littering the mark-up, but it’s a beta, it could be fixed, I’m sure.

On the Flex/Ajax issue, I don’t feel that there is a conflict. Adobe has lanched the FLEX/Ajax bridge allowing Ajax controls access to FLEX functionality – it allows you to take a mix-and match approach to interface richness. FLEX is a far richer and more responsive platform than Ajax, but sometimes you might want the best of both worlds…

#12 On September 30th, 2006 1:21 pm Asp_net_2_0_Rocks replied:

I have created a website with 1.3 and its very easy to work with. I am looking forward to the final release.

#13 On October 22nd, 2006 2:08 am Javascript Blog » Blog Archive » Adobe’s Spry framework overlooks best practices replied:

[...] Drew McClellan of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) writes about Adobe’s new endeavor, Spry Framework for AJAX. Its goal is to “demystify” Ajax for developers and designers with basic HTML/CSS skills. [...]

#14 On October 25th, 2006 2:53 am Adam Herbert replied:

Anyone notice Adobe’s acquisition of Interakt? Maybe they gave up trying to do AJAX themselves so they bought it! I would put forward that if you want to experience the power of Ajax in a nice to use IDE the have a look at ATLAS…VS2005 is nice a nd strict on implementing standard code, just try and type that attribute in uppercase!

#15 On October 26th, 2006 8:52 am Kaan replied:

I also agree with Andreas its beta and will be fixed soon.

#16 On November 3rd, 2006 9:37 am Javascript Blog » Blog Archive » Adobe’s Spry framework overlooks best practices replied:

[...] Drew McClellan of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) writes about Your comments will be moderated but will appear as soon as humanly possible. [...]

#17 On December 1st, 2006 2:52 am Alice Pretchet » Adobe’s Spry Framework for AJAX replied:

[...] Adobe’s Spry Framework for AJAX [...]

#18 On January 25th, 2007 3:22 am Simon Angling replied:

I’ve been looking at prerelease 1.4 and it looks very good. I will probably wait for the final release to try anything serious though.

#19 On January 29th, 2007 11:49 pm Mark Ireland replied:

I noticed a comment on a JSON list that there is no standard for an ajax dataset.

Isnt Spry a chance to propose one?

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