IBM Contributes Ajax Software Development Technology to Open Source Community

Strategic Partnership With the Dojo Foundation to Foster Greater Ajax Adoption and Growth

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ARMONK, NY - 05 Jun 2006: IBM today announced plans to contribute key intellectual assets to the open source community, in an effort to help companies and software developers adopt and share best practices for Ajax software development.

The software contributions will foster an industry collaboration and adoption of Ajax, a technology that improves web application responsiveness, and do so at a lower cost point and with less complexity. The technology contributions will extend the code already available in the Dojo Toolkit enabling internationalization of applications and making them fully accessible to persons with disabilities through a variety of assistive technologies, including DHTML and Accessible widgets. IBM's donation will also extend the data model already in the Dojo Toolkit and provide a foundation architecture and Web-based tools for the industry to engineer, collaborate on, share and reuse software development best practices.

Ajax -- short for Asynchronous JavaScript+XML -- is a type of "Rich Internet Application." The technology enables greater usability and responsiveness of browser-based applications, with the benefits of a zero-install and extremely low maintenance of web development. Developers have the ability to update portions of a Web page without refreshing the entire screen. This can enable users to scroll through a virtual map or photographs without refreshing their browser screens. Additionally, developers can allow users to drag and drop objects inside a Web browser similar to the capabilities available on computer desktops to move folders and documents around. Ajax provides the ability to develop rich buttons sets, icons, scroll bars, menus and widgets that can ease and speed navigation, as well as simplify information retrieval.

"The breadth and depth of experience, and IBM's continued support of Open Source and Dojo in particular, have been tremendous," said Alex Russell, Project Lead for the Dojo Toolkit and President of the Dojo Foundation. "IBM's contributions are creating the foundation for even broader adoption of dynamic web interfaces, even for users that have traditionally not benefited from them. It's clear that IBM is serious about improving the lives of their users and our community is excited to be a part of that."

IBM will be providing expertise to integrate Dynamic Web Accessibility into the Dojo Toolkit widget set. The Dynamic Web Accessibility specification is being developed within the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative. It provides a mechanism for creating rich user interface components on the Web which are fully accessible via the keyboard and when using assistive technologies such as screen readers and screen magnifiers. This enhanced accessibility, which mimics the behavior of client side user interface controls, is crucial for supporting the rich internet applications built using Ajax and Dojo.

The Dojo Foundation manages an open source Javascript toolkit that makes professional Ajax web development easier and faster. "By contributing intellectual property to help establish a common, open industry framework and ecosystem around Ajax software development, IBM together with the Dojo Foundation and others hope to foster more innovation and adoption of Ajax," said David Boloker, CTO Internet Emerging Technologies, IBM. "The Dojo Foundation is an ideal partner for these contributions because of their strong growing community, talented developers, extensible architecture and powerful and innovative abstractions for JavaScript."

Open Standards for Ajax

Open Standards such as DHTML, JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets, and XML are core to Ajax development activities. Developers must deliver quality applications that meet business goals, visually satisfy customers and adhere to time and budget requirements. IBM's goal is to help businesses leverage open standards and open source to increase overall interoperability of Ajax based solutions.

The new open sourced Ajax technology is designed to improve software development practices within organizations and throughout the industry. It also could improve the ability to quickly respond to business and market changes that businesses are achieving through standardization in other areas, such as Web services and Service-Oriented Architecture standards that integrate previously siloed data and applications with customers, partners and suppliers.

"IBM is doing for the Ajax software development process what Eclipse has done for the integration of software tools, what Apache did for Web application servers and what Linux did for operating systems. This technology contribution enables the greater community and our customers," said Boloker.

Today's announcement marks another milestone in IBM's commitment to open standards and open source technology. IBM participates in and contributes to more than 150 open source projects -- more than any other company. These include Linux, the Globus Alliance, Apache, Eclipse, Cloudscape, the contribution of accessibility technology to Mozilla to make the Firefox browser easier to use by people with disabilities, and the donation of 500 patents from across IBM's portfolio into open source.

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