Wednesday, March 21, 2007

impact of OpenAJAX Alliance and Microsoft announcement

This week Scott Guthrie announced on his blog that Microsoft joined the OpenAJAX Alliance. The OpenAJAX Alliance is an industry group made up of over 70 members that include such heavy weights as Google, Adobe, IBM, Sun, and now Microsoft. The aim of the group is not to create the one standard Ajax implementation, but rather to provide a forum for ensuring all major Ajax frameworks can at least "play nice" together.

Microsoft's decision to join this group has several important impacts on ASP.NET AJAX:

  1. First, it signals that Microsoft is going above and beyond to ensure that their Ajax implementation is compatible with as many other Ajax products as possible (a nice change from the "old days" of proprietary Microsoft approaches to web technologies).
  2. Second, it gives ASP.NET AJAX added favor in the eyes of businesses evaluating different Ajax frameworks. Knowing that ASP.NET Ajax has agreed to conform to certain industry standards will make many large companies more comfortable with using Microsoft's framework without worrying about getting locked-in to proprietary Microsoft "standards".
  3. Finally, this move further underscores ASP.NET Ajax's position as the Ajax framework for future .NET development. Businesses will become increasingly reluctant to adopt a framework that doesn't have the OpenAJAX Alliance seal of approval, meaning .NET component vendors will face a choice: drop proprietary Ajax frameworks and start building everything on ASP.NET Ajax or join OpenAJAX and certify your own Ajax framework.
Component vendors already seem to be seem be choosing sides on the third point. ComponentArt's current suite is built entirely on ASP.NET Ajax, Infragistics is moving off of their proprietary Ajax framework to ASP.NET Ajax later this year, and Telerik has already announced several new controls for Q1 (such as RadColorpicker and RadSlider) that will be built on Microsoft's Ajax instead of RadAjax. It seems that in a years time, most proprietary .NET Ajax frameworks will fade away as ASP.NET Ajax assumes its natural role in the .NET framework.