Seven Ajax Frameworks / Toolkits to watch out for

AJAXEnabledFrameworksToolkitsAjax was easily the most talked about technology at JavaOne 2006. Java developers it seemed wanted to get into Ajax by any means possible. So there were 100s lined up for every session that had “Ajax” in its title. It does make sense for developers to try and pick up Ajax soon, as the Ajax hype will move beyond the tech community and you would soon see managers and customers demanding that their applications be Ajaxed. Irrespective of what you think of Ajax, you now have to be able to develop Ajax apps.

Understanding Ajax is one part of the issue however the more complex part is that of actually implementing it. As no real Java developer can develop an application without using a framework, it was only a matter of time before hundreds of Ajax frameworks sprang up. With frameworks, there’s always the concern that you will lock your applications into the framework or even worse adopt a framework that isn’t suited to your needs.

You also need to watch out for frameworks that claim Ajax enabled solely because they have included a popular Ajax Javascript framework in their distribution. Using readymade Ajax enabled JSF components is also a good option that needs to be considered.

Here I have listed a handful of frameworks that I thought will serve us well over the long run. The primary factors I relied on were 1) already established 2) promoted by a major player.

If you feel any other framework should have been on this list, do add a comment.

1) Google Web Toolkit – Build AJAX apps in the Java language: Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a Java software development framework that makes writing AJAX applications like Google Maps and Gmail easy for developers who don’t speak browser quirks as a second language.
http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/

2) Dojo: Dojo is an Open Source DHTML toolkit written in JavaScript. Dojo aims to solve some long-standing historical problems with DHTML which prevented mass adoption of dynamic web application development.
http://dojotoolkit.org/

3) Yahoo! User Interface Library: The Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library is a set of utilities and controls, written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX.
http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/

4) Direct Web Remoting: DWR allows Javascript in a browser to interact with Java on a server and helps you manipulate web pages with the results.
http://getahead.ltd.uk/dwr/

5) Spry framework for Ajax:
The Spry framework for Ajax is a JavaScript library for web designers that provides functionality that allows designers to build pages that provide a richer experience for their users. It is designed to bring Ajax to the web design community who can benefit from Ajax, but are not well served by other frameworks.
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/spry/

6) Mochikit: MochiKit is a free lightweight JavaScript library.
http://mochikit.com/

7) Script.aculo.us: Provides you with easy-to-use, compatible and, ultimately, totally cool JavaScript libraries to
make your web sites and web applications fly, Web 2.0 style.
http://script.aculo.us/

With Ajax, there’s a difference between Javascript based client side frameworks and Java based server side frameworks. So you will also find several serverside frameworks that include one of the client side frameworks mentioned above.

It’s time developers start getting their hands dirty trying out these frameworks and being Ajax ready!

Harshad Oak

Related:
>> Is AJAX worth adopting?
>> Ajax technologies aren’t particularly new or sexy
>> Rails has a huge lead on integrated Ajax development
>> New RAD platform to fill the J2EE-AJAX void
>> Webwork integrates with Dojo

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Harshad Oak
Harshad Oak is the founder of Rightrix Solutions & IndicThreads. He is the author of 3 books and several articles on Java technology. For his contributions to technology and the community, he has been recognized as an Oracle ACE Director and a Sun Java Champion. Contact - harshad aT rightrix doT com & @HarshadOak
Harshad Oak

Harshad Oak

Harshad Oak is the founder of Rightrix Solutions & IndicThreads. He is the author of 3 books and several articles on Java technology. For his contributions to technology and the community, he has been recognized as an Oracle ACE Director and a Sun Java Champion. Contact - harshad aT rightrix doT com & @HarshadOak

  • ananda rudra

    1+ for jquery and extjs
    jquery wide section of plugins are more than ever you need.Growing every moment

  • ananda rudra

    1+ for jquery and extjs
    jquery wide section of plugins are more than ever you need.Growing every moment

  • D

    But ExtJS is only plugins collection for jQuery, Prototype, Mootools,YUI… You forgot jQuery, Backbase and mootools. Script.aculo.us based on Prototype JS.
    I think Prototype JS and jQuery are the only real AJAX Frameworks. YUI and ExtJS (especially Ext JS) are the great Frameworks for developers, who build desktop based applications, but not just a websites.

    D, Ukraine/Dniepropetrovsk

  • D

    But ExtJS is only plugins collection for jQuery, Prototype, Mootools,YUI… You forgot jQuery, Backbase and mootools. Script.aculo.us based on Prototype JS.
    I think Prototype JS and jQuery are the only real AJAX Frameworks. YUI and ExtJS (especially Ext JS) are the great Frameworks for developers, who build desktop based applications, but not just a websites.

    D, Ukraine/Dniepropetrovsk

  • Ivan

    One more addition to your list:
    DHTMLX (dhtmlx.com) is a JavaScript library of more than 15 components, among which full-featured datagrid, tree menu, and layout control that allows developers to combine all the components into a common user interface. The components are written entirely in JavaScript, so they can be integrated with any server-side technology (ASP, .NET, PHP, JSP, Ruby, etc.).

  • Ivan

    One more addition to your list:
    DHTMLX (dhtmlx.com) is a JavaScript library of more than 15 components, among which full-featured datagrid, tree menu, and layout control that allows developers to combine all the components into a common user interface. The components are written entirely in JavaScript, so they can be integrated with any server-side technology (ASP, .NET, PHP, JSP, Ruby, etc.).

  • test@gmail.com

    I can’t beleive they forgot to mention EXT
    Please visit http://extjs.com, you will be amazed.

  • test@gmail.com

    I can’t beleive they forgot to mention EXT
    Please visit http://extjs.com, you will be amazed.

  • GUEST

    You should include also Ext JS – JavaScript Library http://extjs.com on the list.

  • GUEST

    You should include also Ext JS – JavaScript Library http://extjs.com on the list.