Innoopract Proposes New AJAX Project for Eclipse

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-03-20
 
 
 
Innoopract Informationssysteme is proposing this week at EclipseCon a new project to the Eclipse Foundation to help developers create AJAX-enabled applications using Eclipse technology and methodology.

The Karlsruhe, Germany, company is proposing the Rich AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Platform, or RAP, Project, an open-source project that aims to enable developers to build rich, AJAX-enabled Web applications by using the Eclipse development model, plug-ins and a Java-only API.

According to the proposal, Innoopract will contribute code from its W4Toolkit to the project to enable user interface development based on a Java component library. The component library offers a mechanism for browser detection and can adapt to the capabilities of browsers by using rendering kits, the proposal said.

Innoopracts contribution will encompass some of the core functionality for a Rich AJAX Platform, including a rich set of UI components with a Java API, event-driven program control, a generic mechanism for updating arbitrary UI elements of a Web UI based on AJAX, a lifecycle handling comparable to the one used in JavaServer Faces, a mechanism for browser detection, and rendering kits that enable applications to adapt to browser capabilities, the proposal said.

Jochen Krause, president of Innoopract, said RAP "will enable Eclipse-style applications to run inside a browser while preserving the Eclipse development model."

Indeed, the goal of RAP is to enable programmers "to develop powerful, AJAX Web applications the Eclipse way—using the plug-in mechanism, a Java widget tool kit and workbench services—without having to actually hand-code AJAX."

IBM proposed another AJAX project to Eclipse in January called ATF (AJAX Toolkit Framework). However, RAP is different than, but complementary to, ATF.

Click here to read more about IBMs AJAX project.

According to the RAP proposal on the Eclipse site, "RAP is a project focusing on an AJAX Web runtime; [ATF] focuses on tools to write applications for AJAX runtimes. ATP can be used to build components (widgets) for RAP, as RAP is encapsulating HTML, CSS [Cascading Stylesheets] and JavaScript into Java components."

Eclipse already has a Rich Client Platform, which is an operating-system-independent platform that provides a user experience that is consistent with that of the native operating system. However, "by offering a plug-in model on the server and providing Eclipse workbench UI capabilities, developers can leverage their experience with Rich Client Applications and profit from the proven Eclipse development model to create Rich Internet Applications in a streamlined fashion," the RAP proposal said.

Innoopract is the project lead for RAP, but the company is looking for participation from the greater Eclipse community, company officials said.

Tentative plans for deliverables include delivery of a Java component library for UI development in April, a basic WebWorkbench implementation in June, delivery of all APIs for Release 1.0 in December, and completion of Release 1.0 by June of 2007, the proposal said.

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