Sitting in on the Spry presentation with Kelly Brown right now. He starts off by asking who attended Steve's CFAjax presentation, then making the point that Spry is (in his opinion) much easier to use. Next up is a general intro to Ajax.

The goals of Spry are open access, easy to use, and innovation enablement. Spry capabilities include loading and displaying data, filtering data using XPath, UI widgets, and visual effects. It's currently in beta, with new features still being onboarded.

Beyond the capabilities, there are some limitations. It requires JavaScript (as do all Ajax frameworks), performance (think large data sets), accessibility, and browser limitations (FireFox 1.5, Netscape 7.2, IE 6, and Safari 2.0.3), uses the Google XPath library, only supports XML data, and doesn't degrade well.

Despite limitations, Spry is pretty simple to use. You simply include a couple of JavaScript libraries, depending on what functionality you want to use. From there, you load data by creating a Spry XMLDataSet containing the URL of the data source and an XPath statement to select the data (in JavaScript). To display the data, you create a Spry region using standard HTML tags such as DIV. You use binding notation similar to Flex to do the actual display of the data:

view plain print about
1<div spry:region="mydata">
2{firstname} {lastname}
3</div>

Looping is also available, similar to how it's done in ColdFusion.

Spry also has a mechanism for handling master/detail records. You can select an item from a list and have more information about that item displayed.

Kelly is moving along kinda slow, and so far the examples haven't been too dynamic. He's displaying data, but we aren't seeing much as far as dynamic data goes. So far, it doesn't look any different than just pulling data using CF and displaying on the page.

I've taken a look at one of the previous beta versions of Spry, and I do have to admit that it does seem simple to use. I still haven't gotten a good feel for everything Spry can do, and unfortunately, I'm leaving this session not much further ahead than where I started. It's nothing against Kelly - he seems pretty knowledgeable about Spry - it's just that I was expecting a slightly faster pace and a little more depth out of the presentation.