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Sept 2007 - I am continuing to make these Remote Scripting pages available for historical purposes. I encourage anyone building new projects who wants to use javascript remoting techniques to investigate the many advanced Ajax libraries now available - learn more at the excellent Ajax Patterns site.

Remote Scripting

:: getting information from the server without refreshing the page

When traditional web applications exchange data with the server, the current page is replaced, causing a redraw of the display and disruption of application flow. Many applications are forced to be drawn out along a series of wizard steps rather than dealt with on a single form.

While SOAP, XML-RPC, Web Services and .NET are all designed to deal with these issues and others, there still remain many sites who wish to support a wide range of browsers while providing remote procedure call functionality.

Microsoft's Remote Scripting (MSRS) solves this problem by embedding a Java applet in the page to communicate with the server. It provides synchronous and asynchronous remote procedure calls, and works with Netscape 4.x and IE 4+ only on Windows platforms. Because it requires Java, it only works with Windows XP if the optional JVM is loaded. It is designed to work with IIS/ASP on the server side. MSRS is in wide use, mostly on corporate intranets where the client base is predictable. Microsoft has made MSRS freely available.

Javascript Remote Scripting (JSRS) is a client-side javascript library which uses Dynamic HTML elements to make hidden remote procedure calls to the server. It only works asynchronously, but is known to work on Win9x, WinNT/2000, WinXP, Unix/Linux/BSD, and Mac with IE4+, NS4.x, NS6.x, Mozilla, Opera7 and Galeon. There are server-side implementations for ASP, ColdFusion, PerlCGI, PHP,Python, and JSP(servlet). JSRS is in production use on intranet and public sites in Canada, the US, South America, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. JSRS is free of charge and its source is open and freely available.

RSLite is an extremely lightweight implementation of remote scripting which uses cookies. It is very widely browser-compatible (Opera!) but limited to single calls and small amounts of data. It is also free.

I'm Brent Ashley. I wrote JSRS and RSLite in the summer of 2000 and released them for others to use, no strings attached. I've provided lots of free support over the years to get people up and running with it, but now I expect people will only want to look at the code for historical reasons. I'm available through my company, Ashley IT, for consulting and programming related to Remote Scripting and other topics.