I'm here in New York City this morning at the start of the AjaxWorld Conference and Expo which I'm the technical chair for this year. We expect it will be a exciting event that will bring the very latest developments in Rich User Experiences. I'll be blogging as much as I can about what's happening here -- and indeed on what seems to be a nonstop series of conferences coming up -- on this blog, on the Web 2.0 Journal, as well as on ZDNet . In fact, AjaxWorld is just the first in a several month long series of events as one Web 2.0-related happening after the other takes place. It looks like this will be capped off (at least in the first half of the year) by the expected industry blockbuster this year, the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco right in the middle of April.
In fact, there are a great many aspects to the way that the Web is changing and evolving in early 2007 and Ajax is only one of the elements of Web 2.0, yet it gets so much attention because it's enabling the browser to close the gap between what a Web app can do vs. a native PC application. It's also the most visually obvous (and entirely optional) aspect of a Web 2.0 application. But one things this is clear this year: Web 2.0 software models are beginning to evolve across the board.
On the Ajax side this includes everything from very exciting major changes to the Ajax Framework Dojo expected to deliver the 1.0 version this year that businesses can finally commit upon, to real offline Ajax coming of age with everybody from Brad Neuberg (details here ) to Quinebox working on making sure Web apps can literally work any time, anywhere, on or off the network, which is one of the most serious complaints about Web apps for serious work use. As for rich media (which Ajax can't do), the Flash platform is really starting to rise as well and Adobe -- which owns outright one of the few remaining vendor controlled technologies that helps run the Web today -- has Flex 2 and Apollo which could really change the RIA landscape this year. OpenLaszlo also tells a compelling story in this space as does Microsoft with WPF/E. This year really will begin the RIA technology war it seems.
Even more intriguing, we are seeing the emergence of genuine open Web component models such as what NetVibes has come up with recently with their cross platform widget API, known as the Universal Widget API, encouraging open, cross site widget compatibility. Netvibes has made our best Web 2.0 software list two years in a row and for good reason, they remain the best Ajax start page out there and they also get how to fully leverage the Web. Finally, if you're not sure why widgets are a make or break aspect of a successful Web app today, check out my two part series (Part 1 , Part 2) on the fast rise of the DIY (aka Do it Yourself) era.
There's far, far more going on with Web 2.0 of course than the user interface story, and Architectures of Participation, social media, and the many other relentless changes taking place on the Web are often the core of the value. But as I say often, rich user experiences are now a virtually essential checkliist item for high quality Web software. When presented with a static Web page vs. a satisfying, immersive rich experience, user's will vote for the latter nearly every time. And in the flat competitive environment of the Web, you can't afford having the product that's not providing it.
Lots more soon from New York City as AjaxWorld proper gets underway tomorrow morning (Ajax Bootcamp is today which I'm leading off), we expect many announcements and new development. Stay tuned!
March 19, 2007 04:44 AM