Thursday, March 30, 2006

Microsoft And Eclipse: A Showdown For Ajax Leadership

Source: InformationWeek

Web users are getting spoiled. Once they experience the Ajax-powered speed and interactivity of apps on Google or Flickr, click-and-wait Web interfaces won't cut it. Spurred by growing business interest, Microsoft and backers of Eclipse, the open source programmer's workbench, last week stepped up efforts to create Ajax-friendly tools for building interactive Web applications.

Unlike the mature technical standards for server-side software, tools and technologies for Web development are changing rapidly. Ajax is the symbol of emerging Web development, combining JavaScript and XML so that, instead of requiring round trips to a server each time a user wants new data, a browser's cache pre-fetches the information that might appear next. This leads to much faster interaction, with Google Maps among the star examples.

Eclipse leaders--which include IBM, Intel, Red Hat, and SAP--last week laid out the expansion of the developer's workbench into a platform that can compete with Microsoft in the enterprise. "Over the next three years, Microsoft will be very busy encouraging shops to move off of Win32 APIs and move to [Windows] Vista," said Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse Foundation's executive director, at the EclipseCon conference last week. Instead, he urged companies to consider adopting Eclipse's Rich Client Platform, a set of components that developers can use to put a highly interactive interface on enterprise desktop applications that, written once, can run on Windows, Linux, or Macintosh computers.

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