VIENNA, Va.-The OpenAjax Alliance is working to address interoperability issues among development environments for AJAX as well as to facilitate the creation of secure mashups.
At the Rich Web Experience conference here on Sept. 4, Jon Ferraiolo, an IBM engineer and director of the OpenAjax Alliance, a consortium of vendors and organizations working to promote AJAX interoperability, said the group has published draft specifications for ways to make AJAX IDEs (integrated development environments) more interoperable, to secure the creation of mashups and to make widgets more interoperable for use in mashups.
It should be possible for there to be intelligent code assist for APIs across different AJAX libraries, and visual design should be possible using widgets from AJAX libraries, Ferraiolo said. The OpenAjax Alliance specifications will help get to that point, he said.
Aptana is leading the OpenAjax Alliance's IDE Working Group. Ferraiolo said the group wanted to follow the lead of the leading AJAX IDE in the industry and that is Aptana's.
Standards will improve industry efficiency and unleash innovation, Ferraiolo said. So in that regard, AJAX libraries can produce one format, OAM (OpenAjax Metadata), for their APIs, and these libraries will then be compatible with many IDEs, he said. If the library uses JSDoc, then autogeneration of OpenAjax Metadata is possible. "We are investigating autogeneration for other inline documentation formats, such as what Dojo uses," Ferraiolo said. "AJAX IDEs can consume one format, OAM. That IDE will now support dozens of AJAX libraries. By unifying the industry around a single XML file, [this makes it so that] IDEs can now innovate and compete in other areas."
The OpenAjax Alliance IDE Working Group has a number of participants, but the core group that shows up on the weekly calls includes folks from Aptana, folks from Adobe's Dreamweaver group and folks from Microsoft's Visual Studio team, Ferraiolo said.
And while Microsoft has taken a rap for not participating or playing well in some standardization and open-source efforts, Ferraiolo said the company is working to make Visual Studio support the OAM format. Other organizations with participants in the working group include the Eclipse Foundation, Sun Microsystems, TIBCO and OpenLink Software.
"Microsoft has been a strong, active participant, as has Adobe, IBM, Eclipse, Sun, OpenLink and others," said Kevin Hakman, chairman of the IDE Working Group and director of evangelism at Aptana. "All have influenced the specification offering insights from their respective IDEs, user communities and code annotation conventions. Not to diminish others who have contributed significantly, but Bertrand Le Roy of Microsoft has been a consistent core contributor to this process whose input has been very insightful and formative."