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'The AJAX Moment' Has Arrived – What's In It for Java?

'The AJAX Moment,' as I have been calling it for several months now, was almost palpable in California

When the fast-paced, three-day program of AJAXWorld Conference & Expo in the Santa Clara Convention Center finally ended earlier this month, with over 90 technical sessions and presentations from leading AJAX vendors like Laszlo Systems, JackBe, and Backbase as well as from established software giants like IBM, TIBCO, and Adobe, the overwhelming impression delegates, speakers, and sponsors alike were left with was of having been in attendance at something special, something unusual, something potent.

"The AJAX Moment," as I have been calling it for several months now, was almost palpable in California for those three days. So it was no surprise that literally dozens and dozens of companies chose to make announcements timed to capitalize on the vast attention that the Conference attracted in the world's media, nor was it surprising that the OpenAjax Alliance should have timed the most important membership meeting of its history - the meeting at which it elected its first-ever Steering Committee - to coincide with AJAXWorld 2006.

The fact that the OpenAjax meeting was hosted by Sun, however, might initially surprise a few readers - especially since Sun didn't win any of the seven positions on the committee. But there is plenty of interest in AJAX at Sun, even if it came a tad late in the game - so late that a Distinguished Sun Engineer like John Crupi was able to be lured away to become CTO of nimble startup JackBe, and so late that he was able in turn to entice Deepak Alur and Dan Malks (also both Java experts from Sun) to join him.

No company on earth had more speakers on the inaugural AJAXWorld speaker faculty than Sun, including Greg Murray - Servlet 2.5 Specification Lead, now the AJAX architect for Sun. Greg spent several weeks preparing for that OpenAJAX Alliance membership meeting at Sun's Santa Clara headquarters.

Other Sun speakers on the AJAXWorld 2006 faculty included Inderjeet Singh, who gave a session on "Java EE 5 BluePrints for AJAX-Enabled Web 2.0 Applications" and is a senior staff engineer with Sun Microsystems where he is the architect for the Java BluePrints program; David Van Couvering ("Embedding a Database in the Browser: Enabling Offline AJAX"), the original architect for the Sybase J2EE application server and for the first release of the clustered Sun Java Application Server Enterprise Edition; Craig McClanahan ("Encapsulating AJAX Functionality in JavaServer Faces Components"), original author of Apache Struts, part of the expert group that defined the servlet 2.2, 2.3 and JSP 1.1, 1.2 specifications, and the architect of Tomcat's servlet container Catalina; and Francois Orsini ("Apache Derby - A Local AJAX Data Store"), a senior staff engineer working in the database technology group at Sun with 18 years' experience in databases and infrastructure development.

While stopping short of trying to fool people into believing that the J in AJAX stands not for JavaScript but for Java, Sun is absolutely committed by the look of things to making sure that developers and IT architects are aware of how AJAX is agnostic as to which server-side language is being used, be it Java, ColdFusion, PHP, .NET, Perl or whatever.

Sun wants Java to be a part of "The AJAX Moment" - and a big part, at that.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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