The OpenAjax Alliance will try to get its OpenAjax Hub to version 1.0 and explore new areas ranging from IDE support to browser communications and security.
At its recently concluded spring meeting, the alliance achieved several milestones, including a near doubling of its membership, the endorsement of Microsoft, and release of its first deliverable, a release candidate of its Hub.
Yesterday, we spent a few minutes discussing OpenAjax’s short-term direction with Coach Wei, CTO and founder of Nexaweb Technologies, who is a member of the OpenAjax Alliance steering committee.
As mentioned, the nearest term goal is finalizing the OpenAjax Hub by tweaking performance and reducing the size of its footprint. Wei expects that version 1.0 of the hub, which already has drawn support from 11 vendors, to be out by summer.
According to Wei, this won’t be the final release of the hub. There will likely be future refinements, such as a dot release or maybe a full version 2.0, which may include work from related OpenAjax activities, such as what might come out of the communications task force.
The communications task force is looking at connection issues with browsers that could impact Ajax app performance. For instance, today, most web browsers are limited to maintaining two concurrent connections.
The web is designed for an HTTP stack which is request/response, said Wei. Hew noted that such models would break down if you adopted a push model, where servers proactively disseminate Ajax widgets, such as real-time trackers for items ranging from weather updates to plane arrival information, or quasi real-time securities trading.
Admittedly, the fact that the OpenAjax Alliance is convening an activity does not necessarily mean it will spearhead technology or standards development. It’s likely that it will play more of an advocacy role to bring the browser matter up where it belongs, which would logically be in the W3C.
The alliance also has an IDE task force which isn’t developing new tools. Instead it is proposing ideas for how development tooling could consume widgets from other sources.
That remains a major challenge, Wei said, noting that the likely solution would be creating metadata definitions that would enable third party IDEs to consume foreign widgets or libraries.
What’s significant is that the IDE task force, which was initially driven by NetBeans, also counts Eclipse Foundation as a member. That doesn’t mean that Eclipse and NetBeans are suddenly settling their Java differences. Instead, they are both working on the group to find ways to populate Ajax widgets into their toolkits.