Mobile the next AJAX frontier

Ready or not

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It may still be baking as a technology, but that hasn't stopped Silicon Valley's vanguard from trying to squeeze rich internet applications (RIAs) on to mobile devices.

The OpenAJAX alliance has kicked off a task force for mobile AJAX to explain how developers can become successful at building mobile mash-ups. The focus of the Mobile AJAX committee is educational materials and technical standards, the group said.

The alliance held its inaugural session last week on Microsoft's Mountain View, California, campus, co-sponsored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Among those in attendance were Google, Nokia and DoCoMo.

The discussion was at the "create new standards specific to mobile AJAX or evangelize standards that already exist?" stage but there has to be a question mark over yet another standard for mobile applications.

There is already a confusing range of established and emerging standards efforts in the mobile market never mind the Linux community, loosely bound together under the Linux Foundation's Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI) that cuts across AJAX. There is even some doubt as to whether AJAX is the best tool for the job anyway.

It would seem now is the time to rationalize standards and focus on a handful of technologies for mobile applications - not add another set to the alphabet soup.

The move to put AJAX on mobile devices follows the attempt by the OpenAJAX Alliance to bring order to the fragmented world of AJAX for RIAs. The OpenAJAX Alliance has announced the OpenAJAX Hub versions 1.0 and 1.1, with a view to ironing out interoperability issues between competing AJAX toolkits.

Version 1.0 will include AJAX library registration and a publish-and-subscribe engine and is due by the end of this year. Version 1.1 will isolate mashup components in secure "sandboxes" and use the OpenAJAX Hub's publish/subscribe features for cross-component messaging, the group said. Version 1.1 is planned for approval next year, although a full implementation is slated to be ready by the end of 2007.®

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