I'm curious where you see AJAX going in the next 5 years. Do you see it becoming the ideal view technology for most web apps out there? I think as AJAX becomes more mainstream users will start expecting the 'desktop' type style that AJAX provides and will thus push the business in that direction.
Also do you know if there are any full fledged frameworks in work to facilitate as an AJAX api? I know there are many helpful code sets out there now supporting AJAX functionality, but I would love to see a major player in the web scene (sun, apache, etc.) create a solid core set of APIs that will become the standard.
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IMHO Ajax is going to be a split vision thing. There are those that will use and others that will ignore it. As much as I think Ajax is the greatest thing since sliced bread one has to look at the grand scheme of things. In the grand scheme of things it just ain't that important. There are companies like Google, Amazon, etc that will huge investments in Ajax, and others not. I like Ajax because since 1995 I have been an Internet Geek.
Ajax could become a desktop replacement if somebody developed the applications we need. Ajax could be a local application because installing an HTTP server locally is trivial. The thing though that still needs ironing out is the multidevice information at your finger tips.
Marc: I wish I could tell you that standardization groups like W3C were looking at moving forward with Ajax, and the likes. Though it seems they are preoccupied with printing XHTML http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/ and Web Services.
There is OpenAjax starting up, but it seems more preoccupied with tooling and not Dynamic HTML. So in the end I don't see Ajax affecting the Web Standardization all that much. That is probably a good thing. I was part of a W3C working group and there is plenty of politics, which is what Ajax does not need.
Billy: I prefer coding Ajax by hand with some abstractions for the nasties (Prototype, Dojotoolkit). In my personal opinion, and please understand I feel very strongly about this, so it is a personal opinion. If I understand AjaxTags properly it is the use of a server side tag to generate code for the client that implements Ajax. Imagine using JBoss, and using a tag in an Entity Bean that generated a particular GUI on the client side. Would we want that? I am tempted to believe not because we don't know the context of how the Entity Bean is being used. Yet in a Web Application world that is exactly what we are doing.
When using server side tags to generate client side "stuff" we are not de-coupling and modularizing the client, but coupling the client to server and vice versa. Its creating a monolithic application and even though it seems like we are more productive we will pay the price with maintenance and extensibility. Using Ajax and REST (Web Services) allows us to decouple and modularize the client and server.