RealTime IT News

Tech Vendors Call For Open AJAX

With the popularity of the AJAX snowballing in Internet businesses, IBM and several high-profile vendors have created the Open AJAX project to make the programming technology available on any hardware and software.

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) is a technology that makes it easier to send or receive information over the Web. Users of AJAX-based applications typically don't have to refresh a Web browser because information is automatically updated.

For example, consumer applications like Google Maps use AJAX to allow users to scroll through a virtual map without refreshing their Web browsers, much like they would on a desktop computer.

For enterprise purposes, AJAX can speed the building of Web pages and help cut down on the steps needed to conduct a transaction over the Web. For example, AJAX can help users more quickly enter information on an order form.

In addition to Big Blue, other initial supporting members of Open Ajax include Google, Yahoo, BEA, Borland, the Eclipse Foundation, Mozilla Corporation, Novell, Oracle and Red Hat.

Rod Smith, vice president of emerging technologies at IBM, said it plans to contribute software to the Eclipse Foundation and Mozilla Corporation that will allow one to develop and debug an AJAX application.

The Eclipse AJAX toolkit framework supports multiple AJAX runtime toolkits, and allows additional toolkits to be incorporated in less than an hour. The runtime toolkits presently supported are from Dojo, OpenRico and Zimbra. The toolkit framework also has a personality builder.

"When AJAX showed up, I got very interested, and so did customers," Smith said in an interview. "Their first thoughts were on the tooling: 'How easy is it going to be integrate it into our existing J2EE, LAMP or .NET solutions."

Smith said customers told IBM is was important that they have access to different types of toolkits that could improve the user experience on the Web.

Zimbra said it will make its AJAX runtime toolkit available to the community under Apache and Mozilla public licenses. The runtime toolkit provides an JavaScript class library with a set of widgets, an event framework and communication tools.

BEA Blending Strategy Soldiers on

In other programming news, BEA Systems launched Workshop Studio 3.0, which provides Eclipse Tools for the Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 (EJB3) database persistence interface.

Designed to provide developers lightweight container requirements, EJB3 is a specification of the upcoming Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 (Java EE 5) specification.

The persistence component is the "bread and butter" interface that helps programmers make their Java applications talk to a database, said Pieter Humphrey, senior product manager for Workshop Studio.

EJB3 is designed to provide both an open source and commercial option via Hibernate and BEA Kodo, two popular object to relational mapping solutions which can provide access to and communicate with relational databases. The open source Spring development environment will also be bundled with BEA Workshop Studio.

This latest move is part of BEA's blended strategy for letting customers mix amd match open and commercial software components to minimize integration and quash headaches associated with testing programs.

BEA Workshop Studio is available now for $899.