Where Is OpenAjax?

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-09-04 Print this article Print

There is a draft of the OpenAjax Metadata specification that is now in the implementation phase, Ferraiolo said.

"Our open-source mashup tool supports the widget format, but not APIs at this point," Ferraiolo said. "Version 0.1 of JSDoc to OpenAjax Metadata is available. We have not yet started on work for other inline documentation formats, [such as] Dojo. And we have not yet started on Aptana to/from OpenAjax transcoders."

"OpenAjax Metadata is all about making it easier to use JavaScript libraries and incorporate Ajax widgets when creating Web pages, Web applications and mashups," Hakman said. "The OpenAjax Metadata specification provides a way to describe JavaScript objects in a standard way that developers can easily produce and IDEs and mashup environments can consume. The metadata format can describe full JavaScript libraries like Dojo, for example, or single AJAX components like a YUI [Yahoo User Interface] Tree Control, or full-featured mashable AJAX gadgets like Google Maps or even just a plain old JavaScript function too. It works at all levels."

To be clear, there are two primary specifications that share a common set of descriptors, Hakman said. One is the API specification for describing the APIs of JavaScript objects. This was largely based on ScriptDoc with strong input from JSDoc and Microsoft's conventions as well, he said. The API metadata is useful to developers writing application code. There also is a markup specification that is largely based on Adobe Dreamweaver's support and the common Web developer practice of inserting markup and changing parameters in that markup. So in addition to some JavaScript, you also get the chunk of HTML you need to include the widget or gadget in your page, Hakman said.

"The spec contemplates an XML file with transformer utilities to go between JSON [JavaScript Object Notation] and this XML for those that prefer JSON," Hakman said. "In addition, transformers for JSDoc and ScriptDoc are being created by participants and will likely be shared as open-source code for the community to use."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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