Support for AJAX Development Rising

Looking to enrich user experiences with Web applications, vendors are increasingly turning to Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.

Looking to enrich user experiences with Web applications, vendors are increasingly turning to Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is promoting an AJAX-supporting component model around its upcoming Java Studio Creator tool with hopes the model can succeed the way the component model Microsoft Corp. fostered around its popular Visual Basic development environment did, said Graham Hamilton, a Sun fellow and vice president of Suns Java Platform Group, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Sun has touted Java Studio Creator, formerly known as Project Rave, as a Visual Basic-like tool for simplifying Java development.

AJAX is the name coined for a set of technologies that enable developers to build Web applications that are more rich and interactive, like desktop applications. AJAX development is among the hottest developer technologies around, based on growing vendor support for the platform and developer acceptance.

"The intent is to build components and create a catalog of them," Hamilton said. "We think there are 10 to 20 common AJAX components youre going to see" that Sun will likely build and then promote.

Drew Herdener, a spokesperson for Inc., said Amazon uses AJAX-style development because it provides "much greater immediacy for the user."

"In the past, browser applications have always been about filling out and submitting forms, then getting a whole new page back. There is a lot of boilerplate on each page that gets retransmitted over and over again," said Herdener in Seattle. "AJAX lets the application track the users expressed intentions much more closely. Move a slider and see the effect. Click a check box and see more details immediately."

Jeet Kaul, executive director of Java EE (Enterprise Edition) and the Sun Java Application Server, said those two products already support AJAX and that Sun is looking to include AJAX support in other technologies.

/zimages/4/28571.gifJBoss sharpens SOA tools. Click here to read more.

"A core part of AJAX is JavaScript, and were including JavaScript support in the Mustang release of Java SE [Standard Edition], with the core run-time," Hamilton said. The Mustang release, also known as Java 6.0, is scheduled for release next summer, he said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., has released a beta of its "Atlas" tool to simplify AJAX development.

In addition, Infragistics Inc., of East Windsor, N.J., which builds presentation-layer tools and components for both the Microsoft .Net and Java EE platforms, last week released NetAdvantage 2005 Volume 3. New NetAdvantage features include AJAX support for its WebGrid component, sophisticated Web scheduling and composite charting tools for enterprise-class application development, said Steve Dadoly, Infragistics director of development.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.