Eclipse focuses on AJAX at conference

Dynamic scripting languages get open source tools group's attention

Dynamic scripting languages, a popular choice for Web application development, will be a top priority for the Eclipse Foundation at the EclipseCon conference, which begins Monday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The open source tools organization will update two projects pertaining to AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), and it will revise the DLTK (Dynamic Languages Toolkit), which features frameworks and platforms to make it easier to use scripting languages such as Tcl (Tool Command Language), Python, and Ruby.

Eclipse's ATF (AJAX Toolkit Framework), with features for editing, compiling, and debugging AJAX applications, is being fitted with support for the AJAX framework, Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse executive director, said. This will be done with release 0.2 of ATF at the conference.

ATF already supports the Dojo, Open Rico, and Zimbra AJAX frameworks. These frameworks enable interactivity in the browser.

"The challenge to date around tooling for AJAX has been dealing with these different frameworks," Milinkovich said.

Eclipse with ATF can help consolidate the high volume of AJAX frameworks, which has impeded enterprise support for AJAX because of fragmentation, said Jeffrey Hammond, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

"There's 130 frameworks out there. What we need is 10 or less," Hammond said.

While ATF enables the building of tools to interact with AJAX frameworks, it also features tools of its own, such as those for profiling and debugging. Currently, ATF supports the Firefox browser only, but there are plans to enable it to work with other browsers, including Internet Explorer.

Also, Eclipse will debut release 0.1 of RAP (Rich AJAX Platform), which provides a runtime for AJAX applications. Developers can build applications in Java, then decide whether to deploy them in the browser via RAP or on the client. A 1.0 release of RAP is planned for June.

"You write your Java [code] once and then you can make your deployment decision later, based on what the customer or what your client wants to do," Hammond said.

With the 0.7 release of DLTK, Eclipse will support Tcl. Version 1.0 of DLTK, due in June, will back Ruby and Python. DLTK provides facilities to build IDEs for scripting languages.

Eclipse, with its open source tools, enables commercial companies to develop commercial products that leverage base Eclipse technologies. 

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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