Midnight Coders adds AJAX to rich apps platform

Midnight Coders is shipping an upgrade to its rich Internet application platform, which now supports AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) on the client side and ColdFusion at the back end.

Version 2.0 of the company's WebORB Presentation Server became available earlier this month. The product enables development and run-time execution of rich Internet applications. These applications are browser-based but feature characteristics of desktop programs. Included in the product is Midnight Coders' Rich Client System toolkit for client-side development.

"[Rich Client System] provides a very easy-to-use API for connecting the client side with the server side," Midnight Coders representative Terry Nisenbaum said. "And in the next release, it will also contain a library of user-interface widgets that developers can use to create client-side applications."

APIs in Rich Client System implement a communications stack designed to connect to .Net and Java objects, XML Web services, EJBs, and ColdFusion components.

WebORB also natively supports Flash Remoting clients.

Anthony Glass, a user of the product and manager of interactive technology solutions for the Ackerman McQueen advertising agency, said the addition of AJAX functionality may be of value.

"We don't do a lot with ColdFusion here," Glass said, "but there are a lot of implementations where the AJAX portion could be very useful in that we could still maintain a high level of activity in sites that we produce but not be reliant on Flash for the interactivity and motion."

AJAX provides for more Web-searching capabilities than Flash, he added.

Ackerman McQueen uses WebORB to push video from a Flash server to clients logging on to of one its customers' daily Webcasts.

WebORB Presentation Server is available in fee-based and free editions. The free WebORB Presentation Server Standard Edition includes basic connectivity between clients and servers.

The fee-based WebORB Professional Edition adds security functions, a management console and extensions. For 24-hour customer support, the product costs US$899 per logical CPU. Customers seeking only business-hours support, from 8 am to 5 pm Central Standard Time, can purchase the product for US$799 per logical CPU.

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