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BEA has a broad ranging AJAX strategy which extends across our tooling, server and portal product lines

BEA has a broad ranging AJAX strategy. It extends across our tooling, server and portal product lines. In general, BEA views AJAX as a nascent technology, but are keen to deliver users the ability to build and use applications with AJAX attributes.

In the tooling area, BEA is establishing relationships with a number of commercial vendors of comprehensive AJAX run-times. The partnerships will yield powerful integration between Workshop Studio and the runtimes in the near term, which will make it easier to develop AJAX web applications. Open source will play a key role in the development of AJAX technology.

There are a few key AJAX open source projects that appear to be headed in the right direction. BEA's current plans include providing tools built on top of the Eclipse AJAX Tooling Framework. This will make it easier to use one or more of the open-source runtimes. BEA is still gathering data about open-source runtime adoption, and have not chosen one yet. BEA is actively involved in the OpenAjax Alliance, which works to promote interoperability and standardization among the various runtimes.

BEA believes that WebLogic Server is particularly well-suited to be an AJAX server platform, for two reasons over and above its well-understood industrial strength scalability and reliability features.

First, an AJAX application can use WLS Workload Management to specify responsiveness requirements for asynchronous requests (which are often different from requests which result in a page refresh). Second, using WLS FutureResponseServlet to service asynchronous polling requests will substantially reduce the application's impact on server-side thread resources.

In addition, BEA Portal products -- WebLogic Portal (WLP) and AquaLogic User Interaction (ALUI) -- have been using AJAX for several years. Support for AJAX in WebLogic Portal has been detailed on our developer site, dev2dev, in an article by John Margaglione. AquaLogic User Interaction has also included AJAX functionality within its products for several years, most notably appearing in the 2.0 release of AquaLogic Studio (Sept 2003), the Adaptive Portlets technology (March 2004), and the 4.0 release of AquaLogic Interaction Collaboration (July 2004).

Together these releases allowed customer to build collaborative applications using web technology that felt more like traditional applications. The Adaptive Portlet technology allowed customers to create their own cross-platform AJAX-based applications using any development paradigm (e.g. JSF, Struts, .NET) that they liked.

The September 2005 release of AquaLogic User Interaction included an AJAX Scripting Framework, which featured an enhanced set of APIs to make building AJAX applications simpler than ever:

· Store and share session state through browser level variables. Browser-level variables can be stored and shared among portlets, even portlets that are not on the same page. For example, a value entered by the user in one portlet can be retrieved by another. The Scripting Framework acts as an intermediary, allowing all portlets in the portal access to all values stored in a common session.

· Leverage page-level events. A portlet can respond when specific events happen, such as when the page loads or when the browser focus changes.

· Refresh portlet content without reloading the portal page. Portlets can reload their internal content without refreshing the portal page..

· Open any ALUI object from anywhere within the portal. The CommonOpener_OpenObject function is included in every page generated by the portal application, and can be called from any piece of UI or from within a portlet. Portlets can also call the function remotely.

More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.

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