RealTime IT News

ClearNova Open Sources AJAX Development

Software startup ClearNova is releasing its development environment under an open source license to help proliferate AJAX as the preferred tool for building rich Internet applications.

Available to the public for the first time as a commercial product and under the open GPL license, ThinkCAP JX lets developers build Web-based applications that run businesses, said Steve Benfield, vice president of strategy at ClearNova.

AJAX , short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a set of programming tools that improve the user experiences for certain Web applications.

Smaller players in the AJAX development space include IceSoft, JackBe, Backbase and Nexaweb.

ClearNova plans on drinking from the same fountain for a long time to come despite the trickiness in choreographing the moving parts of AJAX.

"AJAX is cool but what can you do with it and how can you build real applications with it?" Benfield said.

"I call it the eight hour rule and that is: can your users use your Web application for eight hours a day without beating their heads against the wall? We're designed to allow people to build business applications with J2EE, open source and AJAX."

Benfield said a lot of current AJAX tools allow users to take existing pages and add AJAX features to it, but ClearNova's ThinkCap JX development platform allows users to build apps from the ground up from the client or the server -- or both.

ClearNova also does it with the help of point-and-click and drag-and-drop tools that eliminate the need for programmers to write oodles of new code at a time when they can't afford to become JavaScript professionals.

For example, the ThinkCAP JX Framework, available as open source via GPL or through a low-cost commercial license for redistribution, includes a full set of menus, outlook bars and accordion controls; multi-row views of data; and a model-view-controller framework based on Struts.

A royalty-free commercial ThinkCAP JX license is available for $2,000 per developer.

ThinkCAP JX integrates almost 25 open source frameworks and engines and runs on any operating system and Java application servers such as IBM WebSphere, BEA Weblogic, Oracle 10g, Sybase EA Server, JBoss, Tomcat, Jetty and Resin.

Alpharetta, Ga.'s, ClearNova also offers a ThinkCAP JX Workbench design environment to leverage the ThinkCAP JX engine, although it is not required to help build software in the JX framework.

This tool costs $499 per year and includes data binding, AJAX events and data-entry forms. It also navigates Eclipse to appropriate code areas.