Fast-track exploratory work around Mobile Device APIs

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on February 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm

The Mobile TF has decided to pursue a fast-track effort to define key use cases and key requirements around allowing JavaScript access to mobile device APIs, along with a characterization of potential security vulnerabilities and where a security framework is needed to address those vulnerabilities. Mobile device APIs would allow the “Web Runtime” (used within the browser, used within widgets, and used for the device’s built-in applications) to gain access to things such as location (e.g., GPS), contact list, phone log, email boxes, phone dialog, connection status (e.g., connection speed and whether roaming), SMS services, MMS services, and the camera. The plan is to push hard for 2 months, between now and April 30, to get as far as possible with our fast-track requirements phase. After April 30, we will then look at the use cases and requirements and decide whether to launch formal activities, such as a standards effort or an open source effort.

Looking forward to what might happen after April 30, there is a strawman proposal where OpenAjax Alliance pursues an open source initiative to develop a shim layer of JavaScript APIs to access mobile device services, and then various JavaScript adapter providers plug into the shim layer to map the OpenAjax APIs to native services. For example, one provider might map the shim layer to a JavaScript library that attaches to J2ME’s device APIs, available via MSA. Another provider might map the shim layer to a JavaScript library that attaches to Windows Mobile services, another to Google Gears mobile services, etc. We will put this strawman proposal on the shelf for the next two months as we go through our fast-track requirements efforts, and then evaluate the strawman to see if it is a good way to go forward.

Web site update – now “mobilized”

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on February 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm

The OpenAjax Alliance site () has received a minor facelift. The menu has been moved from the left side to the top, with dropdown menus. By doing this, the web site now provides more visibility into our current activities and more convenience for navigating around our site. Also, the front page now highlights recent news.

One of the side effects from the Web site update is that there is now a mobile version for our Web site. The back-end logic generates one template for desktop browsers (i.e., IE, Firefox and Safari other than the iPhone) and a different template for all other browsers, which are assumed to be mobile devices. The result is an experience that is faster and friendlier for mobile devices. Opera on all devices is supported via the mobile template, mainly because of my discovery midway through development that the toolbar widget that I was using did not work on Opera.

First spec and open source for OpenAjax Hub 1.1

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on February 21, 2008 at 6:36 am

An initial draft of the OpenAjax Hub 1.1 Specification has been added to the OpenAjax wiki. This draft of the Hub 1.1 spec is a copy of the Hub 1.0 spec, plus new chapters that describe the Hub 1.1’s secure mashup framework. The draft specification includes a complete strawman proposal for new connection-based APIs that allow child gadgets to communicate with the parent mashup container and other gadgets within the container through a mediated message bus. An early open source implementation of the proposed APIs can be found in the SVN tree for the OpenAjax open source project.

Next face-to-face meeting: March 21 in NYC

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on February 5, 2008 at 7:50 pm

The members of OpenAjax Alliance will meet in New York City on Friday, March 21, at IBM’s downtown offices at 590 Madison. The meeting will take place the day after the AJAXWorld Conference and Expo, which is also in New York City. The agenda as it stands now includes a town hall discussion about the IE8 announcement, a town hall discussion of the Runtime Task Force feature list, and then discussion of OpenAjax Hub 1.1, OpenAjax Metadata, OpenAjax Registry and OpenAjax Conformance. If you are a member of OpenAjax Alliance and will be attending, please register on the registration page. If a non-member and wish to attend, please contact Jon Ferraiolo (

OpenAjax Alliance passes the 100 member milestone

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on February 5, 2008 at 7:45 pm

There has been quite a bit going on at OpenAjax Alliance lately, what with the completion and approval of OpenAjax Hub 1.0, progress on the OpenAjax Registry, progress within the IDE Working Group on the OpenAjax Metadata specification, new open source efforts on OpenAjax Hub 1.1 and gadgets, and creation of a new wiki to help with the efforts of the Runtime Advocacy Task Force. Because of all of these various activities, I failed to notice when our 100th member joined. As I look right now, I count 103 members. In any case, congratulations to the alliance on reaching this milestone.