Saturday, February 04, 2006

Eclipse :: AJAX Toolkit Framework

The world of AJAX is getting much more defined, and much more exciting.

Though DHTML was around since like 1999, AJAX has been exploding in the past 2 years (since Jesse james Garret of Adaptive Path coined the term AJAX when presenting a high-level explanation to a large customer trying to effectively communicate the Javascript, DOM, xhtml, CSS, etc combination of effects he was planning to implement for them. See AJAXIAN.com interview with JJG here) Already in 1-2 years, there are many frameworks for AJAX (prototype, DOJO, moo.fx, scriptaculous is a subset of prototype, RICO… the list goes on and on and on, and it grows all the time). As a developer, what do you choose? You’re not going to write your own, that would be very inefficient. There are so many choices, how do you know what
works/ best fit for your app?

You need some framework because you don’t want to develop all the main function calls, all of the effects, testing methodologies, etc. yourself. Plus, What do you use to test all your code? There are a variety of these springing up as well.

What Eclipse.org is in the process of doing is bringing together many of the main players who (are mostly already open source themselves) want to contribute to a large robust “AJAX toolkit framework” that includes standards for plugins, real testing, syntax validation, previewing in the browser (Mozilla is involved), debugger, WSIWYG editing, etc.

It is exciting news as it will make AJAX development much more efficient and robust as this evolves. It’s going to make AJAX a “first world” ‘technology’ rather than searching through a variety of independent, sometimes adhoc, efforts.

The part in the articles linked below about “adaptors for J2EE/ JSP” leads me to believe that there will be tight integration between languages like Coldfusion and this toolkit, similar to how there is tight integration between Ruby on Rails and Prototype. (I am very hopeful for this).

I also notice that that Prototype is left out of this collaboration, despite it being perhaps the most popular AJAX framework at present.
-Mark




Eclipse AJAX Toolkit Framework:
http://www.eclipse.org/proposals/atf/

Portions I (Mark Holton) found very intriguing and exciting:

"Main plug-ins:
Enhanced JavaScript Editing features – providing edit-time and batch syntax checking of JavaScript code.
Embedded Mozilla Browser – provides cross-platform preview of AJAX application, plus DOM inspector function via XPCOM bridge.
Embedded JavaScript Debugger – takes advantage of the Mozilla / XPCOM bridgeto provide an Eclipse-style debugging experience for JavaScript code.Personality Builder – Wizard-driven functions that allow for the easyadaptation of arbitrary AJAX runtimes into the Eclipse / AJAX Toolkit Framework."
...
Adapters for J2EE / JSP and Apache / PHP

" Support has been expressed by:
  • BEA
  • IBM
  • Laszlo
  • Oracle
  • RedHat
  • Genuitec
  • Yahoo
  • Zend
  • Zimbra"

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