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Web 2.0 News and Wrapping Up "Real-World AJAX" Seminar

It's been a busy, busy week indeed in the Web 2.0 and Ajax space

It's been a busy, busy week indeed in the Web 2.0 and Ajax space.  Never mind the interesting discussions and news that came out this week on the Web, I've been traveling and indeed will be traveling to various Web 2.0-related events for the next week or so.  Expect lots more coverage as I start to dedicate more time to detailed blogging here.  At least for those of you who may not be able to attend all of these happenings, you'll get a good feel for all of things that are going on and can participate here, as always.

Before I dive back into and finish up my coverage of Monday's Real-World Ajax Seminar, here' s a very quick rundown of the latest out there.

Web 2.0 News

John Battelle just wrote about wishing Microsoft would split off their Web 2.0 play, Live Software, into a subsidiary and I tend to agree.  Microsoft's traditional native applications and old school enterprise software strategies are almost certainly serious baggage for them and this would help.  And being able to be a pure online software company could really let them focus and execute. 

On the content side of things, Rupert Murdoch was recently spotted declaring that old media has finally been done in by peer content production, particularly blogging, and essentially claims he'll be the last media baron.  Amazing and insightful stuff for a man of his age but you don't get where he is by not understanding the business.  Content creation, editorial control, and distribution is relentlessly going to the people.  The smart media companies will figure out how to incorporate blogging and indeed a few have begun to sort it out.

On the technical side, many of you know I'm becoming a big Ruby on Rails fan (see my taped conversation below with RoR creator David Heinemeier Hansson).  Ruby on Rails is the other big technical story driving Web 2.0 software creation, the other being Ajax, and RoR puts power and simplicity of software creation into almost everyone's hands.  In case you're not familiar with it, Ruby on Rails is the motive force behind 37signals terrific online applications.  In this vein, I just came across a terrific comparison of Ruby on Rails against one of the Web application stack leaders, J2EE.  It's a must-read article by Rick Bradley, be sure to check it out.

Finally, on the business side of Web 2.0, it's apparently raining startup money again in Silicon Valley.  Om Malick does a good partial roundup and everything from Six Apart, to blogging ring FM, to PodTech (a terrific Web 2.0 Workgroup member) has received major funding lately.  Exciting stuff but does make you think that the Bubble 2.0 watch will begin again.

Anyway, enough of Web 2.0 news, let's wrap up Monday's all-star Real-World Ajax Seminar in Times Square.

Monday Afternoon at the Real-World Ajax Seminar

Backbase's CEO Jouk PleiterIn an afternoon session Backbase's CEO Jouk Pleiter gave a solid overview of their Ajax application development software.  They take an intriguing approach to Ajax and instead of creating yet another IDE, they offer to use the IDE of your choice, whether that's Visual Studio, Eclipse, or whatever.  They use a markup language for generating AJax apps called BXML and are willing to open it up the world for review, which will likely be necessary for any kind of industry adoption.  A few other Ajax products, like Bindows, use markup languages to define Ajax user interfaces and it'll be interesting to see how well that plays out.  One of the biggest strengths of products like Backbase is that they were doing Ajax before it was a term and have a long track record and strong customer base.  Good stuff and definitely check it out.

TIBCO's Kevin Hackman Demos General InterfaceThe other big development product in the Ajax space that attended the conference was TIBCO's General Interface.  The 800lb. gorilla for now in the Ajax IDE space, General Interface co-founder and program manager Kevin Hakman gave a genial and informative presentation about the Four Quantum States of Ajax that covered the different ways Ajax can be used online software applications, as well as the GI product itself.  Like Backbase, TIBCO has picked up on the advantages of SOA/Client as a big selling point to organizations that are tired of dealing with software distribution and installation issues and want to leverage their Service-Oriented Applications with exciting, interactive yet highly competent Ajax front-ends.  General Interface even has a full SOAP stack and Kevin described an extremely powerful app that displayed 16,000 stock prices in near real-time in an Ajax client.  Interestingly, as we covered in the TV spot, General Interface is also written entirely in itself and is thus a compelling Ajax application in its own right.

At the end of the conference we had an Ajax Power Panel onstage, a uniquely SYS-CON affair that lets you get a good sense of the personalities at the conference.  The Power Panel consisted of Adaptive Path's Jesse James Garrett, myself, Yahoo!'s Bill Scott, 37signal's David Heinemeier Hansson, and Adobe's Christoph Conraents, hosted by moderator Jeremy Geelan.  It was a good session and the audience got to ask us questions and I got in a few licks for the heavyweight WS-* Web service stacks that I love intellectually but dislike practically.  I'll post a link as soon as the video for the panel is available.

My Video Discussions with Ajax Luminaries

As a treat, I got to tape some conversations with various presenters at the conference.  They are all 7-10 minute shorts with various folks including Bill Scott, David Heinemeier Hansson, Jouk Pleiter and more.  I tried to capture a good story arc consisting of a general introduction to Ajax and related technologies as well as some more interesting bits towards the end of each piece.  You can even download them to your video iPod and catch up with the latest goings on in the Ajax industry as you have time.  I hope you enjoy.

My next stop is Las Vegas where we start the SPARK conference where we work with Microsoft and a host of industry leaders on (hopefully) unifying the concepts of Web 2.0, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).  Then on to MIX 06 and the Gates/O'Reilly cage match.  Here's the latest run down on my travelings and I hope to post all the latest here.

Final Note:  Once I get this round of events done, I'm heading striaght back into writing Web 2.0 analysis, so if event coverage is not your thing, just hang in there.

Update: Bill Scott does a great writeup of his impressions of the event with plenty of new details and insight.

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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