Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

OpenLaszlo 4.0 Released – Now with Ajax

Category: Ajax, Announcements, Flash

The Laszlo guys caused some buzz when they said they were going to support Ajax and Flash as runtime platforms for their new release. That release, OpenLaszlo 4.0 has just been released.

With or Without Flash

OpenLaszlo is designed to support deployment of Ajax applications across multiple runtimes and devices. OpenLaszlo 3.x can deploy applications running Flash 7 or higher, and OpenLaszlo 4, now in Beta, provides DHTML support.

OpenLaszlo 4 gives developers the option to run applications using Flash or DHTML, an open standard built into most browsers. Future extensions include embedded runtimes in consumer devices, such as mobile phones and TV set-tops. Adopt OpenLaszlo today and open a new world of options for deploying compelling Web 2.0 applications now and in the future.

Power with Flexibility

OpenLaszlo LZX is a declarative XML markup language with embedded JavaScript designed expressly for advanced Web applications. Its syntax is familiar to developers experienced with JavaScript, HTML and XML, and it provides advanced language features such as animation, layout, drawing, data binding, and server communication (persistent connections, SOAP, XML-RPC and XMLHttpRequest) to create an extraordinarily rich user experience. OpenLaszlo comes with a robust set of components and is supported by extensive documentation.

Are you looking for tools like this that can deploy to multiple platforms, or do you prefer staying closer to the platform?

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:34 pm

2.9 rating from 68 votes


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I just wish their demos looked better– and their flash demos look sloppy with horrible kerning on fonts/graphics. I’m sure it’s a great technology, but adobe is way above them on being able to produce anything visually attractive.

Comment by Jacob — March 21, 2007

Not a frequent complaint! We try to get that stuff right.

Which demos did you look at, and where do you see the sloppy kerning?

– David.

Comment by David Temkin — March 21, 2007

I guess I really don’t get these types of apps. They don’t appeal to me as a developer at all. Demos fail to impress. Sorry for being so blunt. Yahoo! mail app, that impresses me.

Comment by Dubiousdavid — March 21, 2007

Yahoo! mail cannot compare to LaszloMail. Check it out at

Oh, I have no association with Laszlo or LaszloMail, but I do know a good tool and a great app when I see one.

Comment by turingtest — March 21, 2007

I don’t know what Dubiousdavid and Jacob are smoking, and actually I don’t even want any of it. Because it must be a depressant.

But just let me chime in with the view that the Laszlo apps look fantastic. Why? Because they don’t have any HTML-ish residue clinging to them. Instead they are a clean break from the clunky look that is characteristic of traditional HTML websites.

Comment by Norman Klein — March 21, 2007

I don’t know what Kleinianna is smokin’, but I don’t want it because it must be for genital herpes. What kind of ‘HTML’ websites is he talking about? The ones my grandma makes? As long as you know what the hell you are doing, you can make sites with XHTML/CSS/SVG that look waaaaaaaay better than flash, and look waaaaaay more consistent with waaaaaaaaay less time spent. And then, if you want to piss about the subject even more so, what about the poor linux users? HMM~? They barely have any support for flash right now. So what happens…Flash based site breaks!

Poor linux users, I guess they will have to make their friend send them screenshots of what they are unable to see…

Comment by pissing_contest_time_man — March 21, 2007

actually, I just looked at Klein’s site. I shall stop saying things now, besides I understand where he gets his point of view…PMP!

Comment by pissing_contest_time_man — March 21, 2007

AJAX was already present in the older versions of OpenLaszlo (2 or 3 years ago), the bigger new functionality is that you can create Flash or DHTML application with the same code and use a professional development framework.

Comment by misterpatate — March 21, 2007

Examples of blurry graphics and text:– the embossing on everything and shadows doesn’t appeal to me much– some of the larger fonts aren’t as sharp as they would be in HTML/DHTML. I would put out some other example styles, not by the same designer, since who’s ever producing them just isn’t doing anything for me and it makes open laszlo ‘look’ cheap.

Comment by Jacob — March 21, 2007

The problem about the font anti alias is they still use flash 7.

Macromedia introduced a beautiful font antialias only in version 8.

Comment by Lorenzo — March 21, 2007


I just wanted to clear up some stuff about OpenLaszlo. First off, if you don’t like the way the demos look in Flash, run ’em in DHTML! It’s just a radio button away… Nothing about Laszlo ties you to a specific aesthetic. If you don’t like the look of the current demos (not very web 2.0, I’ll admit) there are many examples of Laszlo apps in the wild that have a totally unique look – here’s a data visualization that I’m particularly proud of:

And here are some others:

Rather than argue about ‘what looks better – Flash or HTML’, OpenLaszlo embraces both. You write applications once in a concise, well thought out high-level language, and let the system deal with the runtime-specific warts. You can choose your target runtime later in the game, depending on what works better for your application.

In the end, it’s not about Flash or HTML, it’s about giving developers the freedom to choose the best runtime technology for their applications. You won’t be tied to any proprietary technologies – the DHTML/AJAX runtime ensures this – it’s 100% open-source from top to bottom! And, we’re only just beginning. 4.0 was about refactoring the system to easily support runtime independence. Now, it’s very easy for us to add support for new runtimes. You can expect to see more and more OpenLaszlo applications cropping up in some interesting places, mobile in particular. I’ll be presenting the new Orbit project we’re working on with Sun to bring Laszlo to MIDP devices at JavaOne this year.

What runtime would you like to see next?

Comment by Max Carlson — March 21, 2007

Max, I’m not arguing against the technology/solution at all– just that there should be some better looking examples. Pertaining to Lorenzo’s comments on the font aliasing, that sounds like it’s a solvable issue with open laszlo. Secondly, in the example, the header graphic bleeds a bit– is that the fault of monster’s or of rendering it through openlaszlo? I’ll be looking forward to seeing your stuff at J1.

Comment by Jacob Hookom — March 22, 2007

Also, pertaining to DHTML vs. Flash as not being any different– there is a difference when you look at scalability of data. For the same reasons I would push over to apollo or eclipse RCP, I’d choose Flash over DHTML. Localized storage and dataset management is a big issue with making DHTML/AJAX rich clients a popular platform.

Comment by Jacob — March 22, 2007

Has anyone used OpenLaszlo that is making these negative comments? I have and it is fantastic! Try it out before you bitch about it.

Doug K.

Comment by Doug K — March 23, 2007

Jacob: by localized storage and dataset management do you mean to exclude and the WHATWG client-side storage that’s in Firefox 2? Just asking, not throwing stones. I’m not sure of your requirements.


Comment by Brendan Eich — March 26, 2007

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