A new web application AjaxLife allows interaction with the online virtual world SecondLife. The cool part? It was developed in just a week by a fifteen year old English schoolgirl.
AjaxLife's primary, and only, developer is Katharine Barry, who writes on her blog that she begun the project out of "boredom [and] wanting to talk to people in SL", but also to learn more about the technologies that power the client:
"I actually learnt how to do the sort of thing involved with AjaxLife (e.g. a useful implementation of AJAX) while making it." Katharine says about her development.
AjaxLife is interesting for SecondLife fans because it greatly lowers the barriers for joining the network. Now longer do you need a video card and a graphical client to connect to the SecondLife world.
At the present the AjaxLife client supports only basic operations, such as in-game chatting, teleporting to various locations on the 'grid' and checking the status of the user's inventory, friends and Linden Dollars. There is currently no representation of in-game avatars.
Image credit: Katharine Barry
That deficiency may not have to last, as 3D engines in the browser using technologies such as Flash are just starting to come into their own. In SecondLife they have an existing world and a thriving community that is already heavily involved in modding and in game development.
Katharine herself has received a fair amount of attention over her creation already, having a short interview published in Reuters SecondLife channel and a more in depth interview in the SecondLife themed news blog New World Notes.
AjaxLife was developed using libsecondlife, a .NET library handling SecondLife communication, and AJAX libraries Ext JS, Prototype.JS and script.aculo.us to handle to the AJAX user interface. Katharine has released the code under the BSD license.
Kudos to Katharine, who proves that there need be no barrier to developing your pet projects, even if you don't have a lot of time or experience you can build something really cool if you put your mind to it.
The phrase "you code like a fifteen year old schoolgirl" is never going to have quite the same sting.