Another new Ajax site is the Panic t-shirt store. How many web apps use drag-and-drop at all, let alone so effectively? It’s so simple and elegant, by the time you get to the checkout page and see yet-another-web-form, the change is almost jarring.
The interesting thing will be whether the web standards folks embrace Ajax. You won’t find a spec for XmlHttpRequest at the W3C. Look at the Google source, and you’ll probably see conditions for Firefox or Internet Explorer (Safari isn’t even supported). But Ajax has something going for it: it brings some of the power of native apps to the web, but unlike the old promise of Java or even Flash, it’s zero-install and quick-load. We’ve got to drop this “web standards” holy war and just get on with building next generation apps.
There wasn’t an acronym when embedded images and HTML tables hit the web. The web just changed, seemingly overnight. The same thing will happen with more interactive, less page-driven applications. It’s just the new web.