Getting Rich with Rich Interfaces

At the end of March, Microsoft announced that it had joined the OpenAjax Alliance. The OpenAjax Alliance is an organisation of vendors, open source projects and companies using Ajax that are dedicated to the successful adoption of open and interoperable Ajax-based Web technologies. The prime objective is to accelerate customer success with Ajax by promoting a customer’s ability to mix and match solutions from Ajax technology providers. The OpenAjax Hub project is aiming at this goal. The OpenAjax Hub is a set of standard JavaScript functionality defined by the OpenAjax Alliance that addresses important interoperability issues that arise when multiple Ajax libraries are used within the same Web page.

Microsoft joined more than 70 member of the Alliance one year after its foundation. The motivations for this action could be multiple. First Microsoft has launched its ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 product in January. Then there is also the interest to promote Ajax as an “open” solution versus Adobe’s Flash as the preferred architecture for the Web rich interface. Microsoft will have to work so that is Ajax solution respects the OpenAjax conformance specifications. As far as the battle for rich Internet interface is concerned, the winner is still to be decided, and there could be more than one. Adobe is currently presenting the alpha release of its Apollo technology. Apollo is the code name for a cross-operating system runtime that supports Flash, Flex, ActionScript, HTML, JavaScript, CSS and Ajax. Adobe is currently targeting the second half of 2007 for the first release of Apollo, supporting Windows and Mac OS X. Support for Linux will be added later. Basically, Adobe is trying to propose a free runtime (like for Flash or Acrobat) that will allow consistent behaviour of Adobe proprietary Web interface solutions and standard technologies. It targets both traditional Web applications and mobile devices.

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