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December 18, 2004


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Google Suggest is definitely interesting, and Kevin Gibbs is to be congratulated for putting it together. It's an elegant piece of work.

I think the most intersting things, though, aren't about the ability to use RPC calls from Javascript. This is pretty old stuff. Brent Ashley released the JSRS library (http://www.ashleyit.com/rs/main.htm) some years ago (cf. these two articles at IBM from 2001: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/wa-resc/?dwzone=web, http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-rich/). The technique is somewhat different, using a hidden Iframe as a buffer, but the effect is the same.

On the technical side, making this workable in real time is impressive. Rather than triggering actions with they onkeypress event, the input field is checked periodically with a timer. This means you don't have to wait from a response from google when you type something - if you get three letters entered in between checks, it will still appear nearly instant. (The above referenced article by Chris Justus may cover this, I can't recall at the moment). And the server side stuff required to be able to return search result counts so quickly has to be very well put together.

On the non-developer side, what I find intersting is that something that has been possible for over three years is hitting the mainstream because Google's done it. There are tremendous boosts in usability possible using RPC calls, but in my somewhere over six years of web consulting, usability has always been the hardest sell. Now that there's a high profile application of this technique, I expect it will become as popular as CNET's orange menu bar was. (If only they had put that on the right side...).

Brent Ashley

dwayne's exactly right - interest in Javascript RPC has increased exponentially since GMail and now Google Suggest. I've seen hits to my remote scripting pages go crazy, with the side effect that my referrer spam has spiralled as well.

I first started building rich UIs with MS Remote Scripting in 1998, and I haven't done any development on JSRS for a couple of years now. If I had the time or inclination to redo it now, I would definitely use XMLHTTP. I had to use iframe/layer at the time for wide compatibility.

The image/cookie method is a great one for smaller stuff - I use ut to great effect at http://www.blogchat.com

Pierre Vesoul

If you like Google Suggest you will love this french tool called Pertimm. Take a look at this technology. It's really worth it. in order to access to a demo contact them at :



You might appreciate my "Zuggest" tool.

It uses "Ajax" concepts and works similarly to Google Suggest but searches against the Amazon Product database as you're typing.

Check it out: http://www.FrancisShanahan.com/zuggest.aspx

It's built with Javascript, Amazon Web Services, SOAP, XMLHttp, XML, C# and ASP.NET and SQL Server.

Would love to get some feedback on it.


Nirendra Awasthi

I noticed that google suggest does not show same number of results as google.com itself:



This is another case where people are astonished to learn that there isn't any black magic going on here and that the functionality is there. it just takes quite a lot of fiddling to get right and in a form that is reusable. This is why I think that there is still a component market for these kinds of things. the google suggest and gmail suggest functionality has been commercialized already here:


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