Juggernaut: Real-time communication for your Rails views
At the Canada on Rails conference in April, David Heinemeier Hansson presented a demonstration of a new technology called Armageddon that allowed real-time communications between a Web page (i.e. a Rails view) and a special 'socket server' (using Flash) that could pass messages in real-time to clients to process.
Alex MacCaw, a 16 year old developer from the UK, took these ideas and has developed and released a system called Juggernaut which offers the same functionality in a ready-to-go Rails plugin. It has been successfully tested with FireFox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, and as it's based on Flash 6 technology, should be usable by over 95% of Web users.
The implications of the Juggernaut plugin (and those that extend it) are huge. With a real-time connection between Rails' views and a server process, it becomes trivial to implement efficient chat systems (hundreds of separate HTTP requests, as with AJAX, can prove resource-heavy), but even more interesting are the more advanced ideas that are only just being considered such as real-time collaborative wikis, collaborative CMSes, etc.