Top AJAX tools deliver rich GUI goodness
Backbase, Bindows, JackBe, and Tibco General Interface bring fat features to enterprise Web clientsFollow @peterwayner
The major differences among these packages lie not in the capabilities, but in the server support and the finer details of their approach. Although it may be easy to find one widget or design structure in each of the packages that outshines the others, the cores of the four packages are similar, and they’re all built around the standard UI widgets. They’re defined by the fact that all of them manipulate the
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The real differences appear in the integration with the server. Some of the packages expect the server to package the data in Web services. Others have extensive server frameworks that integrate the client application with the company’s databases and machines. All of them integrate with the major server technologies such as JSPs and PHP at some level, but some offer more extensive support for packages such as Java Server Faces and others.
The packages are also maturing rapidly. Although I tested fresh versions of Bindows (2.5), Backbase (3.2) and JackBe (4.6.1), new versions (3.0, 4.0, and 5.0, respectively) are right around the corner. A number of new features are working their way into the core of the projects; the real excitement lies on the edges where the companies are exploring the best way to integrate their core browser development environments with the servers. The vendors aren’t making as many changes to the core architectures of the products these days.