Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Surveying open-source AJAX toolkits

Category: Articles, Toolkit

In this new article from InfoWorld today, they look around the web and take stock of some of the more well-developed, strong Ajax toolkits around – six to be exact – and give an overview of them all.

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?

The six frameworks/toolkits they cover are:

  • Dojo
  • Zimbra Kabuki Ajax Toolkit
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • Open Rico and Prototype
  • Microsoft Atlas
  • Yahoo Ajax Library

They start with their reasoning behind their choices before even getting into the descriptions. They also have a reminder that these are their opinions on these toolkits, not to be taken as law – a toolkit is a personal choice.

For each of the toolkits, they talk about what it is, who makes it, how it works (all of the boring stuff) as well as their thoughts on its functionality, ease of development, and include screenshots for those more visually oriented. And, for the even more impatient in the bunch, you can skip right on down to the last page for six “cheat sheets” on the different toolkits, spotlighting the points made before.

Posted by Chris Cornutt at 5:50 pm

2.6 rating from 31 votes


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I take MAJOR issue with their review of “Open Rico and Prototype”… First off, they should be listing Prototype first, followed by Script.aculo.us (which they completely ignored), then POSSIBLY Open Rico, but more preferrably Moo.FX, CSS:Selectors, THEN Open Rico…

No “emphasis on collecting data from a form”?!? Did they even look at Prototype? If they did they must’ve completely missed the extremely useful Form.Serialize()…

“All given single letter names” – again, WTF? There is the famous dollar sign function $(), along with the $$(), ect, but there are also numerous other extremely useful functions that are not just “shortcuts” and have longer names…

It seems to me this guy is more concerned with the look-good, feel-good AJAX stuff, and how much glitz and gloss it has… Which is another reason I don’t see why he completely ignores Moo.Fx and Script.acolo.us!

end rant ;)

Comment by Andy — August 1, 2006

It does look like the author was more interested in built-in widgets rather than focusing on the best parts of each framework. As a YUI kool-ade drinker, I’m pleased that the article presents a good description the Yahoo User Interface libraries that was largely in-synch with my own reasons for picking it as Javascript library of choice.

The author also didn’t mention that the GWT is hardly open source, probably less-so than Atlas. Google owns the proprietary compiler that translates Java into Javascript, and you’d be hard-pressed to reverse-engineer their ‘compiled’ code.

Still, it was a useful article, especially for those new to the field.

Comment by Nick Husher — August 2, 2006

Now, let’s see an article written by someone who’s actually spent more than 2 hours with each of these toolkits. This dude totally missed and understated the power of Prototype. Weak article.

Comment by Ralph Caraveo — August 4, 2006

I’m surprised that he omitted DWR especially since he mentioned GWT. The Spring integration is very slick and support for Comet looks interesting.

I tried looking at the commercial toolkits that he mentioned. JackBe and BackBase don’t appear to support Opera. Bah.

Agreed about his lack of knowledge of Prototype. If he’s going to do a comparison then he should have more of a clue about the subject matter otherwise it’s misleading and/or a waste of time.

Comment by markdav — August 6, 2006

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