Microsoft Ajax toolkit

Just read today an article on CBR news about Atlas, codename project for Microsoft’s Ajax toolkit. I have mixed feelings about it…

Pros:

  • microsoft is ussually good on the client side so we can expect soem nice widgets
  • will support all browsers (!!)
  • architecture distinguishes client and server side. The client side will support any server technology including PHP and CFM!

Cons:

  • it is again Microsoft against everybody else and they are not part of groups trying to create an Ajax standard.

Other:

  • will be integrated server side with their server technology in what they call ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions.

Conclusion:

Atlase seems like an intersting project to follow. If not tight server side with ASP.NET then it has the potential to be used widely. Not part of any standard though.. We will have to see how this impact the devlopement of conmponents on the server side and teh market for these components. They never really took off with java or ActiveX so it remains to be seen if a standard will be useful here…

Related thoughts…

As for the future of Ajax, I am still wondering how long we will be talking about it before it is integrated as “just another tool” in the development toolkit. But it ssems like it can make a real difference:

  • for enhancing the usability of service based application (the new challenge for Msoft and others),
  • it also has a potential of creating a mashup type of applications where people provide services with a cleint side component (or API). This is where a standard would be useful. The standard should address the various types of request to the server (forms, whole components, etc.). It would probably need to be based on XML for describing resources required by a component. For example: if we load a component, what CSS and JS files do we need to load as well, how do we manage CSS and JS conflicts? By name conventions or by isolating each component in a separate document (iframe)?
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