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An Open Source Ajax Shootout

by Scott Delap on Aug 02, 2006 |
InfoWorld columnist Peter Wayner recently reviewed six of the most popular open source Ajax toolkits.  The article sets out to see if they are enterprise ready in comparison to commercial products such Backbase, JackBe, and Tibco's General Interface.  The six open source projects covered were selected because each has a high-profile in the developer community and support of one or more stable organizations.  Microsoft Atlas is included as a part of the six due to its "few pratical restrictions" and freedom to license code created with it as you like.  Peter's summary of the each toolkit's main feature points:

Dojo
Broad collection of widgets
Package system speeds loading
Spotty documentation

Google Web Toolkit
Fascinating/Simple Javascript to Java translation
Broad collection of widgets
Complicated to integrate with other Javascript apps

Microsoft Atlas
Deep Integration with .NET
Excellent documentation
Too integrated with Microsoft development tools

Open Rico and Prototype
Clean code
Sophisticated widgets
No package management

Yahoo AJAX Library
Good documentation
Easy interface for beginning programmers and HTML designers
Lack of larger widgets such as live table

Zimbra Kabuki AJAX Toolkit
Efficient widgets
Source available to large application using it
No package management

In closing Peter states that he expects to see more of a difference to evolve between the toolkits sponsored by one specific corporation and the toolkits sponsored by a collection of contributors.  His final recommendation is to mix and match the best elements of the various toolkits instead of expecting one to solve all your needs.

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Ajax and JSF by karan malhi

It would be nice to see JSF spec including support for AJAX enabled render kits. This way atleast you would have AJAX part of a standard framework along with some standard design patterns. I also think that AJAX based approach is a natural fit for something like JSF which is an event based framework. Although there are multitude of solutions to provide support for AJAX in a JSF request processing cycle (filters and phase listeners) etc, it would be neat to see the standard JSF widgets to have that support and bind XMLHttpRequests to event listeners.
However, till then, you have the different toolkits to use. There are so many use cases where you could use AJAX, that i dont think one set of toolkit would ever be able to take care of all our needs. That is why a standard approach to fit the widgets in a well accepted framework is required. This way we can plugin different cool widgets from different toolkits into one framework without "dirty workarounds"

ZK - Simply Rich by Clinton Begin

I would have liked to see ZK on that list...it seems to be less popular, but my experience is that it blows Google Web Toolkit out of the water...and I'm a major google fanboy. :-)

Try the demos.

zk1.sourceforge.net/

(maybe because it's Java specific?)

Re: Ajax and JSF by Jason Lee

Take a look at the jsf-extensions projects (jsf-extensions.dev.java.net). The goal of that project is to be a playground of sorts for JSF 2.0 features. While still pretty immature in my experience (compared to competing projects), it does have Ajax support built-in, and, with people like Ed Burns and Jacob Hookom involved, shows a lot of promise. I would be floored if the 2.0 spec does not include better native support for Ajax applications.

Re: ZK - Simply Rich by karan malhi

Very cool widgets. I would say that ZK would top that list.

Re: ZK - Simply Rich by Dan Diephouse

The problem with ZK is that it is GPL. So while its open source, I can't really use it in any of my commercial solutions. To quote their website:

"If you include ZK with an application that is not licensed under the GPL or GPL-compatible license, you need a commercial license for ZK."

Re: Ajax and JSF by Charles Moulliard

ZK proposes a solution to integrate seemless AJAX into JSF components. Please have a look there : www.zkoss.org/product/zkjsf.dsp

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