Recently while discussing jQuery, we got onto the topic of AJAX. This prompted me to declare:

Before AJAX, we used stone knives and bearskins to make our web apps

Actually, we were using JavaScript and XML to drive our web apps, we just did not call it AJAX, and it was a very challenging task. In spite of the difficulty of building it, we stuck with it and we were pretty darn happy with our pre-web 2.0 web2.0 app; so much so that we actually had people coming by just to see our UI in action.

I went back and looked for some of our old code, hoping to find the CVS repository1, but only finding a tarball of version 1.4. The following code is from client/script/services.js and dated August 24, 2001 — although some version of this code would have existed in the spring of 2000:

 1BrServices.prototype.issueRequest = function (action) {
 2// deleted ...
 3    var request = brUtils.newXmlDOM(action);
 4    var tryCount = 0;
 5    var condition = brServices.isOkay;
 6    var s = "";
 7    while (condition == brServices.isOkay) {
 9        try {
10            var httpOb = new ActiveXObject("MSXML2.XMLHTTP"); // Was Microsoft.XMLHTTP
11  "POST", brServices.brxmlURL, false);
12            httpOb.setRequestHeader("Content-Type", "text/xml; charset='UTF-8'");
14            httpOb.send(request);
15// deleted ...

Just looking at this snippet from our internal library makes me all the happier that we made the thing work at all. Kudos to Mark Judd and Brian Levine, two of our very talented small team, who were responsible for our UI.

1 You already know this, but just in case, CVS was a source code repository that pretty much everyone used before Subversion (unless you bought one from a vendor).

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