AJAX initiative adds backers

OpenAjax, which features a group of vendors collaborating to expand use of the AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Web-scripting language, is adding some heavy hitters on Tuesday.

Chief among the 13 new participants are Adobe and SAP. The other 11 newcomers are Backbase, Fair Isaac, IceSoft, Innoopract, Intel, JackBe, Opera, Scalix, Software AG, Tibco and XML.

"AJAX technologies show a lot of promise for SAP users and have generated strong interest from the SAP development community at," said Ike Nassi, senior vice president of SAP Research, Americas, in an e-mail. "We look forward to efforts like OpenAjax providing a consistent and productive AJAX environment that SAP customers and partners need to obtain maximum value from these new technologies."

OpenAjax participants all have products that use AJAX, said David Boloker, CTO of Emerging Internet Technology at IBM, an original participant in OpenAJAX.

"Some of what we're all trying to do is determine what's the best way to grow adoption of AJAX," Boloker said.

Although AJAX offers benefits in Web applications in that it enables development of more interactive user interfaces, it has issues that OpenAJAX seeks to address, such as the lack of a common "grammar," or way of describing a user interface, Boloker said. Simplification of AJAX programming is needed, he stressed. There also is a lack of good AJAX programmers.

You might have to go through 20 candidates to find a good one, Boloker said.

Other initial members in OpenAjax included BEA Systems, Borland Software, the Dojo Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Google, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla Corporation, Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo!, Zend, and Zimbra. Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have been invited to participate but have yet to become part of the organization, Boloker said.

OpenAjax participants will hold a summit meeting next week in San Francisco to determine specific deliverables.

OpenAjax was announced in February. Participants share the goal of promoting AJAX's promise of being universally compatible with any computer device, application, desktop, or operating system. The group also is pushing AJAX as being easily incorporated into new and existing software programs and seeks its usage in mobile applications also.