AJAX reloaded: Push Technology with Lightstreamer and Comet.

lightstreamer-logo Nowadays, Web 2.0 has became a buzz word on internet. Lot of websites that you browser have that “rich” user interface with jazzy fonts and logos and ajax/javascript effects. AJAX has really changed the way we surf on internet. You see any cool web application like GMail or Google Reader, they look much like a desktop based application. With ajax, a new technology has arrived called “PUSH TECHNOLOGY“. A long held HTTP request allows a web server to push data to the browser without browser explicitly requesting.

Lightstreamer is product on similar line. Let us see what Lightstreamer official website has to say about it:

Lightstreamer is a scalable and reliable Server for pushing live data to Rich Internet Applications. Based on the AJAX-Comet paradigm, it streams real-time data to any Web browser, without installing anything on the client. Both HTML and Flex applications can receive live data from Lightstreamer, as well as traditional thick clients. See below for a quick example.

Lightstreamer has been used in many mission-critical production systems, where scalability, low network impact, bandwidth management, adaptive streaming, and other advanced features, have proven fundamental.

Lightstreamer can be used to push real time data to browser and render a graph. Trust me this looks really cool as the graph keeps on changing with time as new data gets streamed. Also you can paint a table where the values keeps on changing. For e.g. A Stock portfolio application where the current prices of stocks keep on changing and you can track real time prices. No need to hit Refresh, no need to make an Ajax call. Lightstreamer also support bandwidth control where you can actually control the bandwidth a connection can use.

Lightstreamer application has two components, a server component that is written in Java and deployed in Lightstreamer server and a client component that is written in JavaScript and run in browser. Server component keeps on pushing new data to client, which then renders it to the UI.

Ok, so Lightstreamer is soo cool.. then why I have never heard about it. ?? Well its because it is not free.. you have to pay a good amount of money to use it in production environment. There is a free copy available on Lightreamer site that you can use for evaluation. But you have to register for the free product and generate a “key” using mac address of machine where you want to run it.

There is an open source push technology framework available on internet called Cometd.

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