Thursday, March 24, 2005

Going Independent

I have notified LogicaCMG that I intend to start my own business by the end of April 2005. I am sad to leave a large and international network of professional relationships. I am happy to take the opportunity to do the things that I enjoy and be able to write more about it in the process.

More Rich Internet Application Frameworks (3)

An AJAX thread on the TheServerSide.NET has resulted in another smart browser framework supplier: Isomorphic. The same thread also contains some posts on developing online/offline functionality with AJAX.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

IoC in .NET

The Inversion of Control virus seems to have mutated sufficiently to make the jump from Java to .NET developers. Olaf Conijn writes about his beginning excursion into this territory. However, before writing a new framework it might be worthwhile to have a look at existing .NET efforts. This thread on tackles the subject as well.

Monday, March 21, 2005

AJAX (2)

Sam Ruby has started to write about AJAX best practices. A comment in one of his posts referred to a AJAX list which provided a pointer to the Ajaxian blog, which has a good amount of useful info about JavaScript libraries and more.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

More Rich Internet Application Frameworks (2)

I like irony and coincidence. I like it even more when the two come together.

At the beginning of this year I wrote that a MVP award and a GMail account had provided a good start, but that their benefits still had to be determined. Last Friday I received a MVP related message in my gmail account which came with the following sponsored link:
Longhorn Can Wait - Learn to build the future now with the open source Laszlo platform.

I had not heard about Laszlo before, but it turns out to be another rich internet application platform. It uses its own XML document structure in combination with JavaScript and XPath, which at first sight looks pretty intuitive and powerful. A Java backend compile the Laszlo XML documents into Flash 5+ compatible SWF files that can be displayed in any browser that supports Flash plug-ins. It seems that other display formats could be targeted by the backend, but so far Flash is the only option. I guess XAML/Avalon would be a conceivable option once Longhorn is out.

Laszlo is open source, released under the Common Public License, which allows use in commercial products. Tool support is available as an Eclipse plug-in. For more info and demos see

Synergy or what?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

More Rich Internet Application Frameworks

More people seem to be interested in smart browser applications (my preferred term for rich internet applications...). A colleague pointed to Bindows as a rich browser-side UI framework. It does some impressive things, but I am still far from convinced about its support for Mozilla browsers. Many of the samples don't seem to work as intended in Firefox 1.0.1, but I trust that will change over time.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Though I have had a weak spot for the Dutch football club for a long time, I expect to spend more time on the "technology".

I saw a first reference to the term AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript with XML) in Dennis van der Stelt's blog. Shortly afterwards followed by a remark in an InfoWorld article on the Java vs .NET debate (referenced by where AJAX is mentioned as a likely new feature in JSF 1.2/J2EE 5.

Finally it seems we are getting some traction for the development of rich browser applications. Though browser nowadays provide a strong platform (DHTML, CSS, XML, JavaScript) to build such applications, there is still a lack of supporting browser-side frameworks and associated development tools that will allow for productive development of such interfaces. However, it seems this is starting to change.

I can see this work in the Java world through the community process and open-source organisations like Apache supporting it. Unfortunately, I still have to see whether similar traction can be formed in the Microsoft world, because Microsoft currently has no direct benefit from promoting richer browser applications. It would go at the cost of the momentum they are trying to build for development of smart clients based on XAML/Avalon and Office. Developing a browser-side framework would be a risk for Microsoft partners (or any other commercial party), because it is practically impossible to protect browser-side script. So I guess it will have to come from either the open-source community or a MS partner who is willing to build both framework and VS.NET integrated toolset.

A business model based on providing the toolset seems to be feasible: in the Netherlands BackBase is a company with a very interesting offering in this area (based on a open-source, Java-based backend).