Participating are: Miljan Braticevic, president, ComponentArt Inc., Toronto; John Ayers, director of development, and John Juback, technology evangelist, ComponentOne; Joost Lubach, technical evangelist, Dundas Data Visualization Inc., Toronto; Ivo Nedkov, unit manager of the ASP.NET division at Telerik, Sofia Bulgaria (Newton, Mass. in the U.S.); and Anthony Lombardo, lead evangelist and Microsoft MVP, Infragistics Inc., Princeton, N.J.
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SearchWinDevelopment.com: Any thoughts on XML-based Ajax versus Ajax without XML?
Joost Lubach: I have always believed that the "X" in Ajax was more or less a forced invention. I've never seen an Ajax implementation that actually uses pure XML for data transfer. Instead, the creators of the acronym have intended (X)HTML to be used for data transfer. Whereas this is most often the case, the actual data that is transferred through Ajax calls is not predefined. Nowadays, the popular data markup language JSON is used for pure data calls, while (X)HTML is used for presentation-related data. But I have to admit that AJAJ or AJAH is not as elegant as Ajax.
From what I understand [performance] seems to be the biggest issue, and in early tests it is what we found as well. In certain cases it is OK, but in some cases like a grid with a large amount of data, you want to be as fast as can be. You can't use the nicer declarative model of doing things; you have to get down and dirty and write script. As machines get faster and browsers improve [that issue] could go away, and there would be a more negligible difference.
SearchWinDevelopment.com: Right now the Ajax tool market is flourishing, with both commercial and open source offerings. Do you think this sort of environment will continue to exist, or do you see the market undergoing any changes over the next couple years?
Ivo Nedkov: From our experience we can say that this environment will continue to exist at least for several years to come. The ASP.NET Ajax community [and] the Ajax community in general is growing every day, and there are a lot of people building great applications. A lot of developers are investing in Ajax projects and this will continue to be the main trend in Web development.
Miljan Braticevic: I think the market will continue to flourish. It is definitely a bet we are making with our continued investment in the market. There are interesting new things popping up like Silverlight and Adobe Air, and I predict that all will coexist in the next few years while Silverlight and Air mature. It will be several years before the majority of enterprise applications are written in non-Ajax platforms, namely Silverlight or Air.
John Ayers: I think there will be a new development environment. With Microsoft Silverlight, Flash and Flex, etc. I think it will really define what the next generation experience will be, but for early adopters. I think traditional Ajax and ASP.NET will be around for a while, but once you get really good tooling support and a third-party component market, I think the next generation is going to be Silverlight.
Part 3 focuses on the fate of the open-source community over the next few years.
For Additional Information: View the Ajax Learning Guide