Monday, September 1, 2008

Evaluating Ajax alternatives

Ajax has been a central part of Google’s efforts to design richer, client-independent Internet applications. I think by any measure it’s been a success, in part fueled by (and fueling) the success of WebKit, the open source HTML rendering engine developed by Apple engineers.

In the August issue of IEEE Computer, George Lawton authored a 3-page summary of “New Way to Build Rich Internet Applications.”

The article lists two major Ajax development tools: the Google Web Toolkit and Microsoft ASP.Net Ajax. It also lists the non-Ajax alternatives: Adobe solutions (Flash, AIR and Flex), Microsoft Silverlight and Sun’s JavaFX.

I haven’t been a code-level engineer since Palomar closed in 2004, and I haven’t had occasion to create any Internet apps other than many pages of HTML and a few small fragments of Perl and Javascript. However, I found the article provided a helpful overview of the competing RIA technologies, with no obvious axes to grind.

The one odd thing was only a single passing reference to Eclipse. Its Rich Ajax Platform version 1.0 was released 11 months ago. It leverages the existing Eclipse Rich Client Platform architecture that is the basis of many Eclipse applications from the past five years.

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