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The AJAX Year In Review
"AJAX has been the other big software story of 2005, along with Web 2.0"

Ajax has been the other big software story of 2005, along with Web 2.0.  An optional ingredient to Web 2.0 software, Ajax has changed the perception of Web-based software as being horribly clunky, page-oriented, and boring when compared to native computer applications.  Ajax describes a set of techniques that makes Web software quite the opposite.  A quick visit to Google Maps and its live scrollable map tiles or NetVibes and its drag-and-drop reorganization of your personal data both show how potent and compelling Ajax techniques really are.

I originally covered the current state of Ajax back in August in a
widely linked article.  It still provides a good summary of the history, benefits, and pitfalls of Ajax but it's amazing what has happened since then.  It's also interesting to see what issue haven't been resolved.  Though Ajax isn't a technology, it's strictly constrained by the technologies that it uses to describe how to weave visually arresting, highly intereactive, web service-based applications that can be loaded into any browser with a single URL, all without installing any software.  But some challenges continue to remain but are decreasing in concern.

The term and world-wide attention behind Ajax is not even a year old, but you can find a wide range of poweful tools either with newly added support for Ajax or created just to support the Ajax way of life.  In addition, many of the constaints and problems with Ajax have been resolved or greatly reduced.  But keeping track of all these developments is very difficult, so I've compiled a summary here of the major advances in Ajax so far this year. 

I hope you enjoy.  And as always, please add your own at the bottom for all to benefit...

Improved Ajax Techniques


  • Content with Style: Fixing the Back Button and Enabling Bookmarking for AJAX Apps - Mike Stenhouse explains how to fix two of the more distracting problems with Ajax. These can be particularly problematic for users new to Ajax applications.  Since Ajax apps typically load into a single web page, it makes pressing the Back button meaningless or actually harmful.  And this breaks the browser usage model annoyingly.  Also, individual views of data in an Ajax application cannot have a URL or permalinks unless precautions are taken.  Mike does a great job covering how to reduce these problems.
  • Saving Session Across Page Loads Without Cookies, On The Client Side - Ajax virtuoso Brad Neuberg strikes again with a detailed explanation of how to deal with saving session information across page loads without relying on cookies.  This is important in larger applications which typically want to store more information than a cookie can hold.  Brad also has some terrific tools to deal with this as well (see AMASS below)
  • Call SOAP Web services with AJAX - By design, Ajax is a voracious consumer of web services like XML/HTTP, REST, and SOAP.  A great article at IBM's DeveloperWorks describes how to easily call SOAP web services from Ajax.  This is important because SOAP is a complex protocol that requires some familiarity to use.  While Ajax development tools like Atlas, General Interface, and Bindows will solve this by providing a SOAP stack, for many, hand development of back-end SOAP request is the only option right now to achieve interoperability with WS-I Basic Profile web services.
  • Ajax using only an image - Browsers and networks continue to get more secure and many configurations will not allow an Ajax application to use web services, and almost none of them will allow you to access a server other than the one the Ajax app loaded from.  Enter an elegant technique to solve this by using image URLs.  Not for the faint of heart, and certainly a possible security hole but a compelling solution nonetheless.

Ajax Tools and Libraries


  • TIBCO's General Interface - I've not used this Ajax development environment extensively yet but it apparently eats its own dog food and runs entirely inside a browser (which apparently must be Internet Explorer).  Supposedly containing an entire SOAP stack, a full-blown IDE, and numerous libraries, General Interface is one of the leading solutions in this space and can be downloaded and used today.  TIBCO cautions you not to use it for production apps yet, but my initial use was encouraging.
  • Microsoft Atlas - A serious contender in the Ajax IDE space (details here), Microsoft is planning for Atlas to be a heavy-duty, enterprise scale Ajax solution.  Integrated into Visual Studio 2005, Atlas is just a code name but expect that it will be a leading Ajax player from the get go and will live up to its name.
  • Dojo - Still in early release, the open source Ajax library, Dojo, is getting lots of attention from folks in the know.  Dojo is billed as a "powerful, portable, lightweight, and tested tools for constructing dynamic interfaces. Dojo lets you prototype interactive widgets quickly, animate transitions, and build Ajax requests with the most powerful and easiest to use abstractions available."  I haven't used it yet, but you can bet I will be soon.
  • Script.aculo.us - One of the very best Ajax visual effects libraries that I've used is the eponymous script.aculo.us.  Advertised as "Web 2.0 JavaScript", script.aculo.us has numerous effects and convenience tools, all built on nice, tight object-oriented abstractions.  I've used it and I can recommend it for its simplicity and reliability.
  • Bindows - Mind-blowing Ajax library for recreating the full richness of native applications, and includes a SOAP stack.
  • AMASS - Ajax gets good client-side storage.  A brilliant piece of work by Brad Neuberg, check out a description of how AMASS works here.
  • TrimQuery - A robust JavaScript database for Ajax.  When combined with AMASS above, neat things can really happen.

    Ruby on Rails


  • Ruby on Rails - Should probably be listed first, not down here.  The best lightweight, server-side Ajax framework out there today.  Note that Ajax pioneers and Web 2.0 leaders 37Signals sponsor this site and RoR is used by a great many successful Web 2.0 sites.

  • Log4Ajax - Many serious developers wouldn't switch to a new programming model without a Log4J equivalent and here it is.  Both traditional console as well as advanced logging support for Ajax is here today.  SourceForge site here.
  • Backbase - This IDE is getting good reviews but it apparently uses an abstraction layer like Morfik.  I haven't used it yet but I keep hearing about it.
  • Sajax - A good competent server-side framework featuring support for most common back-end languages like Perl, Python, Ruby and much more.

Note: The most complete Ajax framework listing I've seen available is here.

Ajax News and Resources

Ajax Developer's Journal

  • The Ajax Developer's Journal - Good sources of news for Ajax are still pretty scarce but that's starting to change in a big way.  SYS-CON has recently launched their Ajax Developer's Journal and has been working closely with Jesse James Garrett, who coined the term.  Expect lots of interesting and topical new articles and coverage on a regular basis.
  • Ajaxian - Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith have been working on Ajaxian for a while now and it remains one of the very best sources for the latest Ajax news, tools, events, and general inspiration.

Critiques and Analysis of Ajax


  • Ajax Mistakes - This is Alex Bosworth's terrific analysis of the early problems with Ajax.  He a big believer in the technology and his Ajax-powered LiveMarks site is one of my absolute favorites.  A good place to start to understand some of the challenges with Ajax.
  • Fixing Ajax: XmlHttpRequest Considered Harmful - Some good coverage of why Ajax doesn't really enable the use of the services of other web sites without a lot of work.  This is a big barrier to leveraging Web 2.0's global services landscape.  This can be solved a number of ways however and the options are explored here.  The image URL solution a few paragraphs above is missing but otherwise this is an excellent summary.

    Ajax Network Constraints


  • 10 Places You Must Use Ajax - Alex is back and carefully enumerates the good places to use Ajax.  He also covers when to avoid it.  Excellent material for those learning how to design with Ajax.
  • Top 10 Reasons Ajax Is Here To Stay - Andre Charland nails it.  Though some folks dislike Ajax for a variety of reasons, here are some terrific positive motivations for using it today.

And don't forget to see what can be done with Ajax!  Check out these great new Ajax-enabled applications here.

posted Friday, 30 December 2005

About RIA News Desk
Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to RIA@sys-con.com to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Trackback Added: Ajax Starts To Grow Up and Bindows Helps; I had an interesting discussion on the phone today with Yoram Meriaz, CEO of MB Technologies, and maker of the remarkable Bindows Ajax framework. As Ajax becomes more mainstream, organizations have become increasingly interested in taking

Trackback Added: Ajax Starts To Grow Up and Bindows Helps; I had an interesting discussion on the phone today with Yoram Meriaz, CEO of MB Technologies, and maker of the remarkable Bindows Ajax framework. As Ajax becomes more mainstream, organizations have become increasingly interested in taking

Great wrapup! It's amazing to me seeing how far such a simple idea as Ajax has really come in this time (not even a year). It has opened new doors and made some pretty amazing new sites possible, and I love that people are already trying to stretch the boundaries of what you can do with the tools made availible. Keep up the great work here!

Also, just wanted to let you know about AjaxDeveloper.org for a new source as well. There's some similar postings as Ajaxian (in fact, we credit them with several of the posts we make), but there's also a few others that we catch as well.

http://www.ajaxdeveloper.org

Dion-- Thanks for summing it all up so well. Looking forward to 2006. I wante dto add a clarification re: TIBCO General Interface. The 3.0 product is available today and powering solutions at demanding enterprises and the US Military. No "caution" needed for this software. Hoever, our 3.1 software is available in Beta form as well from developer.tibco.com. Perhaps that's what you meant by not-ready-for-production. In any event 3.1 will be generally available soon.

-- Kevin Hakman, TIBCO

Trackback Added: The AJAX Year In Review; We’ve seen and heard a lot about Ajax in 2005. Here is the Ajax year of 2005 in review:
The AJAX Year In Review
— The term (and world-wide attention) behind AJAX is not even a year old, but you can find a wide range of powerful tools either ...


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KHAN
Solgenia

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Solgenia

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RAMA
MURTHY

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IndependenceIT

DE MENO
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Alert Logic

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IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

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Softlayer

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GENBAND

SUBRA
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Emcien

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Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOM-
BERG

Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

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TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
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HOLT
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SHAN
CTS

PICCIN-
INNI

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GERSMA

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PAIGE
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SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

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EMC

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Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMING-
HAM

SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
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NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRY-
MPLE

EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
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RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
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HP

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RILEY
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DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

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Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

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Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

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Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

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Catbird

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HALL

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KEANE

PLESE
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Quantum

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IBM

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1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


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Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

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@CloudExpo Blogs
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for the time needed to run automated tests. In this framework, success depends on two things: automated i...
Is there more than bitcoin to blockchain? Absolutely, because today's blockchain is opening up a pathtowards the delivery of trusted online services. To understand this statement, you need to see blockchain as more that it's more famous bitcoin use case. As a fundamental digital tool, blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. If used in this fashion, it can enable transactional applications that can have embedded trust, accountability and transparency attributes. Instead of having a Bitcoin blockchain that is reliant on the exchange of cryptocurrenci...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Making informed network investment decisions about emerging technologies such as network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help evolve the network to keep pace with the innovations of the devices and people it’s connecting. As you work with business leaders to make decisions about upgrading your infrastructure with these networking developments, it’s important to understand the similarities, differences, and benefits of dual NFV and SDN implementation. With their ability to offer a new way to design, deploy, and manage the network and its services, NFV a...
"Storpool does only block-level storage so we do one thing extremely well. The growth in data is what drives the move to software-defined technologies in general and software-defined storage," explained Boyan Ivanov, CEO and co-founder at StorPool, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, which can process our conversational commands and orchestrate the outcomes we request across our persona...
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds and process individual requests and then the process ends.
ChatOps is an emerging topic that has led to the wide availability of integrations between group chat and various other tools/platforms. Currently, HipChat is an extremely powerful collaboration platform due to the various ChatOps integrations that are available. However, DevOps automation can involve orchestration and complex workflows. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Himanshu Chhetri, CTO at Addteq, will cover practical examples and use cases such as self-provisioning infrastructure/applications, self-remediation workflows, integrating monitoring and complimenting integra...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacenter.
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is being taken very seriously across industries and cannot be ignored.
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the basics of Blockchain, previewed the Blockchain Reference Architecture, and introduced the mechanics o...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud hosts. This BriefingsDirect cloud services maturity discussion focuses on new ways to gain container orc...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the ability to deliver applications at warp speed using infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management c...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Bitcoins are a digital cryptocurrency and have been around since 2009. As a substitute for legal tender, they are becoming the rage for investors and others but because there is no government agency auditing or performing regulatory oversights, you wonder if it is the perfect breeding ground for electronic nano crime. Since the introduction of the Bitcoin, some competitors have emerged and the whole segment of cryptocurrencies are defined as Altcoins. Altcoins include Dogecoin, Ethereum Feathercoin, Litecoin, Novacoin, Peercoin, and Zetacoin. Some of these cryptocurrencies are considered impro...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architect, explored how storage and software-defined solutions from IBM have evolved for the road ahead. Lea...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration and discussed ways to control cloud costs.