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Project Orbit: Sun and OpenLaszlo to support J2ME as compile target

by Rob Thornton on Oct 13, 2006 |

OpenLaszlo, known as being one of the first RIA platforms that can compile an XML-declared UI into Flash SWF files, has teamed up with Sun to extend their platform to also compile J2ME apps, part of Project Orbit. The OpenLaszlo APIs include animation, layout, data binding, server communication, and declarative UI functionality. The goal of becoming a multi-platform runtime platform was first announced in June, when OpenLaslzo announced Legals, which would provide cross-browser pure DHTML as a compile target in addition to Flash.

According to the Project Orbit FAQ:

Under the current scope of this effort, OpenLaszlo is being extended to enable third parties to develop any application(s) they choose. That means whether developers want to deploy to a computer desktop or to a mobile phone, they’ll be able to build one application, from a single code base, that will run anywhere they choose (just by selecting the "Java ME" or "Flash" or "DHTML" runtime button at the end of development). The functionality, interface richness and information access will remain the same across the various runtimes. Of course, given the size of most mobile devices, the obvious interface factors need to be taken into consideration to maximize the end user experience, but those limitations are design-oriented versus developer-focused.

"The integration of OpenLaszlo and Java ME technology is another important step in the evolution of mobile computing," said Robert Brewin, CTO of Sun Microsystems' software group. "This collaboration will bring the richness of the modern web, the power of Java technology and the unique capabilities of OpenLaszlo together for the benefit of our respective developer communities."

Current versions of OpenLaszlo support only Flash 7 and 8, but the OpenLaszlo team is working on Legals, a project to add DHTML and Flash 9 support. Targetted for release at the end of the year, they recently released the fourth snapshot:

...dramatic improvements in application and component functionality under DHTML. We have now brought over multiple OpenLaszlo applications from 3.x to Legals, with very few code changes in all cases. (There are still some significant caveats, which is why this is not a beta release: several of the components - combobox, datagrid, menu, floatinglist - do not yet work, and IE6 support continues to lag behind support for FireFox 1.5.)

In other OpenLaszlo news, a new tutorial on getting started with OpenLaszlo is available on XML.com.  In addition, this summer the first book on OpenLaszlo was released.

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