Microsoft Joins OpenAJAX Alliance

After considering it for nearly a year, Microsoft brings its considerable AJAX experience to the OpenAjax Alliance.

NEW YORK—After mulling it over for nearly a year, Microsoft has decided to join the OpenAJAX Alliance of vendors working toward furthering the adoption of open and interoperable Asynchronous JavaScript and XML-based Web technologies.

The OpenAJAX Alliance is expected to announce Microsofts plans to join the group at a session at the AJAX World 2007 conference here on March 20.

Last May, Microsoft said it would consider an invitation from the OpenAJAX Alliance.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Microsoft mulling joining the OpenAJAX Alliance.

In an interview with eWEEK last May, Brian Goldfarb, lead product manager for Web Platform and Tools at Microsoft, said the software giant was open to having a dialogue with the group of companies pursuing an open-standards approach to AJAX.

"The idea of open collaboration around AJAX is a great thing," Goldfarb said in that interview. "Thats what were focusing on ourselves—look at the work weve done with Atlas." Atlas is Microsofts AJAX development framework.

Atlas has since been commercialized and dubbed Microsoft ASP.Net AJAX.

"Microsoft is joining the OpenAJAX Alliance to collaborate with other industry leaders to help evolve AJAX-style development by ensuring a high degree of interoperability," said Keith Smith, group product manager of the Core Web Platform & Tools to UX Web/Client Platform & Tools team at Microsoft. "By joining OpenAJAX, Microsoft is continuing its commitment to empower Web developers with technology that works cross-browser and cross-platform."

"My view is this is strong indication that businesses are telling all AJAX vendors and developers [that] open [de facto] standards and interoperability matter," said Rod Smith, vice president of Emerging Technologies at IBM Software Group. "OpenAJAX is now viewed as the leading organization fostering Rich Internet Application [RIA]-related technologies. Microsoft has always been a leader in rich user experiences—having their active participation in OpenAJAX will be welcome by developers and enterprise customers alike."

In February 2006, a group of 15 companies banded together to announce the OpenAJAX Initiative. The 15 OpenAJAX originators included BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Google, IBM, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla, Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo, Zend and Zimbra. Between Feb. 1 and May 15 of last year, another 15 organizations joined the group.

The members of the OpenAJAX Alliance will have a face-to-face meeting in New York March 22-23, following the AJAX World conference.

Some might say it is only fitting that Microsoft should join the group that is helping to advance AJAX, as much of the technology in AJAX-style development originated at Microsoft, the company claims.

Indeed, Adam Bosworth, now a vice president at Google but formerly a key software architect at Microsoft, spoke at a Google event in January and described the process of creating AJAX at Microsoft 10 years ago.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more of what Bosworth had to said about AJAX.

"Back in 96-97, me and a group of people, many of whom are here at Google, helped build stuff that these days is called AJAX," Bosworth said. "We sat down and took a hard look at what was going to happen with the Internet, and we concluded, in the face of unyielding opposition and animosity from virtually every senior person at Microsoft, that the thick client was on its way out and it was going to be replaced by browser-based apps.

"Saying this at Microsoft back in 96 was roughly equivalent to throwing matches around in an oil refinery," he said. "But we concluded we should go and build this thing. And we put all this stuff together so people could build thin-client applications."

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