AJAX Enthusiasts Unite
The collaborative effort wants to broaden the adoption of AJAX by concentrating on three primary goals: providing interoperability, and thus decreasing the risk of adoption; ensuring that AJAX solutions utilize open-source technology and obey open-source standards; and maintaining the Internet’s open nature.
As one might surmise after seeing how important “open” concepts are to the group, OpenAJAX Alliance is not trying to set itself forth as a dominant force. “We decided to keep it informal,” said Coach Wei, chief technology officer of Nexaweb Technologies. “We’re not going to make it a corporation or a formal organization. We don’t want to become a standards organization or an open-source hosting organization like Eclipse or Apache. But we will work with groups like the W3C [World Wide Web Consortium] for standards and Eclipse and Apache for open-source projects.”
Scott Dietzen, president and chief technology officer of Zimbra, had something to say about the themes of OpenAJAX. “We need to clearly define AJAX; clarify the mission of OpenAJAX; endorse and improve AJAX platform technologies; endorse and improve AJAX design patterns; and last, but not least, improve the browser,” Dietzen wrote. He also stressed the need for AJAX to remain multiclient, multibrowser, multiserver, and multilanguage/container on the server.
Dietzen went on to comment that he feels the “competition for the hearts and minds of developers between Visual Studio and Eclipse; between IE and Firefox; and between Atlas and Kabuki, Dojo, et al. is good for all. At the same time, I think it is generally going to be increasingly hard for other proprietary vendors to find a sweet spot between Microsoft and open source.”
Nexaweb has also developed something called XAP, according to Wei. Submitted to the Apache Foundation as a potential standard, XAP is “an open-source declarative framework for building Web 2.0 applications that . . . is designed to leverage existing AJAX projects.” Wei says the company isn’t trying to stake a claim, stating, “We don’t want an open-source project owned by one company like Nexaweb.”
“One missing component is a declarative way of doing AJAX components in the open-source world,” Wei added. “So we are willing to make this contribution to the community.” With members like this, the OpenAJAX Alliance would seem to be off to a strong start.