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Eclipse RIA Tools Updated

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The Eclipse Foundation has announced two project milestones aimed at improving Rich Internet Application development, the Eclipse Rich Ajax Platform (RAP) has hit milestone two with support for JFace dialogs and the Eclipse Ajax Toolkit Framework (ATF) has added support for OS X.

The RAP project is similar to the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) but differs in two ways, First while GWT runs an emulated Java engine in the browser, RAP is mainly server-side and uses Ajax to update the client. This results in event-handling in RAP being done server-side while in GWT it is on the client-side. Second, RAP has access to the full Java APIs and OSGi inside a web-container, because it is server-side. RAP has been described as an Eclipse RCP approach for web applications. Milestone two of RAP adds support for new events as well as dialogs.

The ATF project is designed to help with JavaScript development (allowing debugging inside of Eclipse) and specifically to allow building of IDEs for Ajax runtime offerings (Dojo, Zimbra, etc).

ATF makes it easy for developers to build, debug and deploy their Ajax applications. It includes a variety of components, including a Javascript debugger that supports debugging of local and network files and tools for inspecting running Ajax applications. Eclipse ATF supports a number of the more popular Ajax frameworks, including Dojo, Rico and Zimbra.

ATF is already in use in products from Nexaweb and Genuitec. Wayne Beaton has written about how to get started with the project.

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