Microsoft, Google Join OpenAjax Alliance
But what might potentially bog down members anyway are discussions about their ulterior motives. Though both ASP.NET AJAX and GWT are free to the consumer, they each leverage separate sets of technologies which link to all sorts of proprietary possibilities. The link between Microsoft's implementation and Active Server Pages is now blatantly obvious, with its AJAX becoming an extension of its server-side scripting. Today, that scripting is geared for Internet Information Services, and makes good use of other branded services such as SQL Server. Microsoft's AJAX demonstrations of late have been heavily geared toward XAML, the company's XML-based user interface description language - a tool which is reliant upon either the Windows Presentation Foundation ("Avalon") library in Windows Vista, or the .NET 3.0 Framework.
With the understanding that vendors will naturally try to leverage their investments in AJAX by tying their implementations to existing commercial product lines, early Alliance members last September formed what is called the OpenAjax Hub. Its aim is to set a clear line in the sandbox, as it were, regarding where the standard ends and vendors' implementations should begin.
It's a very important line, because a cross-platform standard should not show favoritism toward any one member's technologies or products. Last month, Mozilla programmer John Resig cast a critical eye on some of the Hub developers' initial choices, including the choice of an event listening scheme that was based on a concept used by Internet Explorer. Resig called this choice "throwing standards to the wind."
The OpenAjax Hub's mission statement says it was founded to address the problem of "first-generation Ajax libraries...designed with the assumption that developers will use these libraries in isolation from other Ajax libraries." Mozilla is not yet a member of the Alliance, nor is Yahoo - another co-founder, by way of having co-authored the group's charter documents. Yahoo has become a major AJAX user, having completely redesigned its front page for AJAX, and in so doing throwing per-page-view analytics services into a quandary over how much of a page needs to be redrawn to be considered a "refresh," for the sake of advertisers' measurements.
Yahoo and Mozilla may be awaiting the outcome of the Alliance's meetings later this week, to determine whether the group is serious about erecting a permanent fence to keep out vendor-specific variations, especially now that their two principal competitors - Google and Microsoft, respectively - may now be the group's guiding forces.