OpenAjax Grows, Sets Agenda

The OpenAjax Alliance announces growth in membership, a new Web site, and a new road map and technology to help standardize Java development.

The OpenAjax Alliance, an open industry group focusing on AJAX, has announced several new members, defined a set of strategic goals and launched its Web site.

Jon Ferraiolo, an Armonk, N.Y.,-based IBM engineer and spokesman for the OpenAjax Alliance, said the groups membership has almost doubled since its formation in February. The most recent members of the organization include The Ajaxian, American Greetings, Bling Software, Curl, edge IPK, eLink Business Innovations, ENOVIA, MatrixOne, Finetooth, The Front Side, Ikivo, ILOG, IN2, IT Mill, Javeline, JWAX, Merced Systems, Nexaweb, Nitobi, OpenLink Software, Seagull Software, Sitepen, Sun Microsystems, Vertex Logic, Vircon, Webtide and Zoho.

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"The last time we announced membership, we had 28 members," Ferraiolo said, but now the group consists of more than 50 member organizations. Early members of the group include Adobe, Backbase, BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Fair Isaac, Google, IBM, ICEsoft, Innoopract, Intel, JackBe, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla, Novell, Openwave Systems, Opera, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, Scalix, Software AG, Tibco, XML11, Zend and Zimbra, he said. There were 15 initial members, including BEA, Borland, Google, IBM and Oracle.

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a style of development that enables developers to build applications that deliver a richer Web experience and greater collaboration and interactivity than typical Web applications.

The alliance also launched its Web site at The tagline on the OpenAjax Alliance site is "Standardizing AJAX Development."

The alliances site outlines the groups strategic goals and publishes its first technology whitepaper. In addition, the OpenAjax Alliance is developing an OpenAjax Hub that represents a key part of the technical work and goals of the alliance, Ferraiolo said.

The OpenAjax Hub is a set of standard JavaScript functionality defined by the OpenAjax Alliance. Its focus is on being small and fast, and addressing interoperability issues that arise when multiple AJAX libraries are used within the same Web page, he said. A Version 1.0 release of the OpenAjax Hub is scheduled for early 2007, he added.

Ferraiolo said there are two parts to the OpenAjax Alliance, a communication and education track, and a technology agenda. The whitepaper came out of the communications and education side of the organization, he said. It is a 23-page document that defines AJAX, describes the promise the technology holds, and lays out the OpenAjax Alliances goals and strategies.

The OpenAjax whitepaper "is our Version 1 attempt at educating the IT professional on how to be successful at AJAX," Ferraiolo said.

The OpenAjax Hub comes out of the technical side of the organization, Ferraiolo said. "The hub is a bit of JavaScript glue that manages the communications between different AJAX tool kits," he said. Indeed, using the OpenAjax Hub, a user could drag elements from one vendors tool kit and drop them onto a different vendors tool kit, Ferraiolo said.

Version 1 of the OpenAjax Hub will include four primary features: an AJAX library loading and unloading control, techniques and tools to minimize JavaScript object collision, an event hub, and a markup scanner, Ferraiolo said.

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"Our road map calls for Version 1 of the hub to be completed by the end of the year and its rollout in tools by early 2007," Ferraiolo said. "And we expect to propagate it throughout 2007."

Ferraiolo said the OpenAjax Alliance will hold its second face-to-face meeting Oct. 5 and 6 in Santa Clara, Calif., to elect a steering committee and to further set the groups agenda.

"Weve moved to a lightweight, formal governance model," he said. "There are seven companies from the membership chosen to manage the affairs of the alliance."

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