AjaxWorld thoughts; Nexaweb, OpenLaszlo and Apollo/Flex

It's the last day of AjaxWorld and I've been able to sit down and talk with a lot of people doing interesting things with Ajax. I'm still not sure about the lifespan of Ajax, but I've been impressed with the robustness of both Ajax and the browser after seeing examples at this conference.

I'm here at AjaxWorld and it's been an interesting conference, especially for someone like me that focuses on the richer RIAs and tends to disregard Ajax as a more limited technology. In a lot of ways it is, but this conference has been an indication for me that Ajax still has a lot of life left and that there are some interesting things going on.


I got a chance to check out Nexaweb's Enterprise Ajax solution. I've got more about this later, but they have an impressive product, especially for those customers who want to make sure they get a bang for their investment in older technologies. The Nexaweb guys have found a lot of Swing applications that their customers are unhappy with and they've come in with a solution that leverages Java (on the web or desktop) or Ajax, depending on the needs of the customer. I like the "multi-touch" ability of the platform.


Yesterday, OpenLaszlo, a company that I really like and have covered in the past, announced that version 4.0 of their product is ready and waiting for Ajax developers. The 4.0 version allows developers to build OpenLaszlo applications and then compile them as either Ajax or Flash. The thing I love about OpenLaszlo is that it opens up a bunch of RIA technologies to developers, and it's great to see their Ajax/DHTML support finally available. They've had a big presence here at the conference and I think they are generating some good buzz.

But even with all the Ajax talk, there are still a lot of people asking about Flex. It seems like a lot of people here haven't seen Flex before, but they've heard about Apollo and they seem genuinely interested in seeing what technologies are out there for when Ajax isn't a fit. We're at the point where Ajax makes a great sister technology for Flash applications, and that's been borne out a bit here at AjaxWorld. I think there is a place in the world for people using Flash components or charts in their Ajax applications that enhance functionality and add richness. "WPF/E" can make a huge play in this area with its support of JavaScript.

There's still a lot of traction for Ajax, but the interest level in building richer applications is high. I think there is a void there that companies like OpenLaszlo, Adobe and Microsoft can fill, it just depends on who can woo developers.