I have been posting a lot of stuff on AJAX and portlets. There are a few short comings of portlets technology. A few of them can be answered by AJAX or similar technology in future. I have already posted about how AJAX can help in increasing the user interactivity in portals and it can reduce the amount of content to be transferred on the page. This has already been incorporated by some portal servers such as Sun Portal Serverand Stringbeans.
One of more debated topics of Portlets have been the inter-portlet communication. I have been asked questions like can AJAX be used in inter- portlet communication. Well, I don’t think AJAX can play very important role in IPC as it is the Portal Implementation specific. The common IPC scenario is where there are two portlet windows on the same page, on action from window should change content on the other portlet window. Now, can this be achieved through AJAX ?? It means that in this case the whole page need not be rendered and only the content of those portlets can be rendered. Hmmm ….well possible, may be if you are keeping both portlets listening to the server thru AJAX after every short span of time. But to achieve this I guess a new AJAX support to portals should be incorporated.
One of the other sought after topics for Portlets was can we show the other documents like excel, doc, pdfs etc on a portlet. And the answer to that is no because to show the different documents we need to change the content type of page. I GUESS this can be solved by AJAX Linking and Embedding ALE technique being shown by Zimbra. It says that instead of embedding objects that are backed by installed desktop applications (e.g. a spreadsheet or drawing application), within the ALE world the embedded objects are AJAX components that are embedded into an editable HTML document. This might give us the solution of maintaining some excel work on one portlet and doing some other work on another portlet like seeing some charts or reports etc.
I will appreciate any more feed backs as this is a lesser explored issue.