Open Ajax

This article was originally published in VSJ, which is now part of Developer Fusion.
IBM for one seems to think that Ajax is a good idea – it and several other companies are behind a new open-source project to create development tools for Ajax-style web development. Ajax Asynchronous JavaScript + XML is currently a fairly loose collection of techniques for producing application-oriented web pages which are more responsive to users by minimising the round-tripping needed to perform server-side operations.

IBM will donate Eclipse-based code to Open Ajax to help it get off the ground as quickly as possible and produce some real Ajax development tools. The other companies involved include Google and Yahoo, already heavy users of Ajax technology, BEA Systems, Red Hat, Borland Software, Novell, Oracle, and the PHP language company Zend.

There are existing toolkits for Ajax development, but there is no clear market leader. It is likely that domain-specific toolkits will come to co-exist, each providing easier creation of specific Ajax applications. Currently, the Open Ajax project has produced the Ajax Toolkit Framework (ATF), which allows two toolkits to run with Eclipse: the Dojo Toolkit and a recently proposed Apache project called Kabuki. It plans to create tools that provide enhanced JavaScript editing including edit time syntax checking, an embedded browser for testing, a DOM browser, JavaScript debugger and more. With the head start provided by IBM’s code, the group hopes to have an initial prototype available in the first half of 2006.

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