Microsoft joins OpenAJAX group

Microsoft joins OpenAJAX group

Microsoft has announced its entry in the OpenAjax Alliance

Microsoft has will revealed that it is now participating in the OpenAjax Alliance, joining with other members to make the AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Web scripting technique more interoperable.

OpenAjax also plans to detail progress on its OpenAjax Hub technology, which is intended to provide interoperability among different AJAX frameworks. These developments are to be revealed at the AJAXWorld Conference & Expo in New York City.

Snagging Microsoft as a member boosts the organization's credibility and goals.

"Obviously, Microsoft is a very important player in the AJAX world because it has the dominant browser on desktop computers and a significant share in the server world and with the .Net servers," said Jon Ferraiolo, acting director of OpenAjax Alliance and Web architect for Emerging Technologies at the IBM Software Group.

Microsoft has been promoting AJAX via its ASP.Net AJAX technology, formerly called "Atlas." Developers can build AJAX-style applications and integrate with the .Net Framework. OpenAjax had been seeking Microsoft's participation.

"This announcement is important for both ASP.Net AJAX and Microsoft as it demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to working jointly with other vendors to promote interoperability of AJAX tools in a way that benefits all developers," said Keith Smith, a Microsoft group product manager for the company's Web platform and tools, in a statement released by the company.

Microsoft is only joining now, more than a year after the alliance's formation, because it has spent time learning about the initiative, Smith said.

Microsoft's participation was called "pretty good news," by RedMonk analyst Michael Cote. RedMonk also is an OpenAjax Alliance member.

"It's always a good signal to have more vendors who have the intention of working with a standards group," Cote said.

Formed in February 2006 by vendors and such organizations as IBM, Google, and the Dojo Foundation, the alliance has set out to bolster AJAX by making it more interoperable. A principal goal has been to enable developers to use multiple AJAX technologies within the same Web application.

The alliance on Tuesday plans to announce that 11 AJAX toolkits have done preliminary integration with the OpenAjax Hub. Some of these include toolkits from organizations like Dojo, Tibco, and Nexaweb.

"There's roughly 200 AJAX toolkits out there," Ferraiolo said. The issue is that there is difficulty in having applications or portlets coexist within a mashup, he said.

"They may collide in terms of their usage of JavaScript," said Ferraiolo. "There's various collisions that can happen where they prevent each other from working."

More toolkits are expected to integrate with the hub, which is available in a preliminary format. A general release is anticipated this summer.

OpenAjax has expanded to 72 member organizations with 20 members signing up in the last couple of months, Ferraiolo said. Newest members, in addition to Microsoft, include such companies as ActiveGrid, ESRI, Helmi Tecnologies, OpSource, and Tealeaf Technology.

The alliance recently published revised white papers, including a new article entitled, "When Does Ajax Make Business Sense?" which can be found on the organization's Web site.

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