If you want to add AJAX to the magic collection of buzzwords supported by your Web site (and who can resist the siren call of the latest buzzword?), then you have two major options: purchase a proprietary package or experiment with open source libraries.
InfoWorld has covered a number of excellent proprietary AJAX toolkits in the past, and now we’re turning our attention to some of their open source rivals. Are they worth exploring for enterprise use?
If you’re interested in whether these open source packages compete with the best commercial tools, the simple answer is: not in general but sometimes in specific details.
The best-known proprietary packages, such as Backbase, JackBe, and Tibco's General Interface, all offer complete development environments with full toolkits, sophisticated event models, and debuggers. With them, you can write applications that run in the limited environment of a Web browser but offer almost all of the features of native code. (See more on proprietary AJAX tools we've reviewed.) None of the open source packages I looked at come close to the range, depth, and support of these commercial packages.
But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty that’s worthwhile in these open-source AJAX projects — there’s an explosion of interest in the area right now.