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Laszlo Tries To Tame The Ajax Beast

OpenLaszlo will deliver applications in Flash or Dynamic HTML

Ajax is a bit like a temperamental actor. The technology does incredible things, but it's painful to work with. That has created a need for Ajax tools that lessen the great pain of crafting interactive Ajax applications for different browsers. The interactive, fast-responding Web applications programmers can create with Ajax (for asynchronous JavaScript and XML) are one part of what people are calling Web 2.0, where quality interactions with users count for more than the number of HTML pages downloaded.

One of the most promising of those Ajax-taming tools is OpenLaszlo, a development framework that until now has focused on the Macromedia Flash Player. Later this year, developers will be able to use OpenLaszlo to deliver applications in Flash or Dynamic HTML, while relying on Laszlo technology to resolve underlying browser discrepancies, Laszlo Systems CTO David Temkin says. "It's a big deal to have one language that can output to more than one environment." Support for Microsoft's Vista is also likely.

Laszlo brings a higher-level, declarative-language approach to building Ajax applications rather than keeping developers mired in scripting language minutia, Temkin says. That will accelerate the use of Ajax technology for developing Web applications and open the door to Java and C++ programmers, letting them plunge into Ajax without leaving behind their class-building programming practices. Laszlo's plan is in step with the Open Ajax Community, established last month by BEA Systems, Google, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo, and others.

Laszlo specializes in interfaces that let users fade out of a screen and zoom in on a part they're interested in, without leaving the HTML page on which they started. As Ajax makes new Web apps possible, Laszlo should make it easier.

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