OpenAjax Alliance Sets Standards for Metadata, Widget Interop and Mashup Security

The OpenAjax Alliance taps its broad industry membership to deliver standards for metadata integration, mashup security and widget interoperability. The organization tapped leading members such as IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Aptana, the Eclipse Foundation, Google, the Dojo Foundation and others to help craft the standard.

The OpenAjax Alliance has made good on promises it made earlier about boosting enterprise-class Web development with new Web 2.0 specifications and widget standards.

I first reported on the organization's moves in September, when Jon Ferraiolo, a Web architect in IBM's emerging technologies group, shed light on the subject at a rich Web conference in Vienna, Va. Ferraiolo discussed early work on the efforts now coming to fruition in terms of metadata integration, mashup security and a widget interoperability standard. At the event in early September in Virginia, Ferraiolo spoke on Interoperable Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) tools and mashups.

However, "we're completing an interoperability event where members have implemented the tooling standard and the mashup standard," Ferraiolo said. For instance, Adobe's DreamWeaver team announced support for the new OpenAjax Widget Format in the new DreamWeaver CS4, and the Eclipse Foundation has implemented the OpenAjax JavaScript API, Ferraiolo said.

The question is, however, has AJAX gone the way of XML -- being a vital technology but no longer in need of a spotlight or showcase event to show it off because it is so integral to systems. Indeed, XML is just there. It's in the plumbing -- everybody has it and most everybody knows it.

However, if a conference must be held on the subject, AJAXWorld in San Jose, Calif., is as good as any, coming on the heels of The Ajax Experience conference in Boston. Meanwhile, at the AJAXWorld show, the OpenAjax Alliance announced the successful interoperability of two key technologies with more than a dozen AJAX products. These advances will further enable software developers to create enterprise-class Web sites with Web 2.0 features using its open standards software.

AJAX, based on open formats such as HTML and JavaScript, is the Web development technology behind most interactive, rich Web 2.0 applications-such as mashups, widgets and gadgets. With today's milestone, the Alliance is showing that the technologies announced in the spring can successfully interoperate with industry-leading AJAX products.

The OpenAjax standards address two workflows, AJAX Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and AJAX mashups. These OpenAjax standards initiatives will enable better AJAX developer tools and will promote greater security and interoperability with mashups, Ferraiolo said. This is critical as Web 2.0 applications extend from the consumer space into the enterprise.

For instance, Adobe, Aptana, the Dojo Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, Google, IBM, ILOG, Lightstreamer, Nexaweb, Programmable Web, SAP and TIBCO are among the vendors that received interoperability awards today for OpenAjax standards for IDEs and mashups, a Web site or application that combines content from more than one source into a browser-based Web application.

"The Eclipse Foundation has expanded its industry-leading open source IDE technologies to go beyond Java to also support JavaScript and AJAX developers," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. "We strongly support the IDE interoperability efforts at OpenAjax Alliance and are excited about our future support for OpenAjax Metadata within Eclipse's JSDT [JavaScript Development Toolkit] component. Our various JavaScript initiatives will allow Web developers to experience the same power and flexibility advantages that Java developers have realized for years from the open-source Eclipse platform."

"We took Aptana's format as a starting point then we worked with a group including Microsoft and Eclipse to help shape that into an OpenAjax Alliance standard," Ferraiolo said.

Indeed, he said, "we're happy about the broad participation on the mashup side, especially for the enterprise side, and that the promise of Eclipse 2.0 can happen."