OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Completed and Approved

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on May 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

The OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Specification has been finalized by the IDE Working Group and formally approved by the members of OpenAjax Alliance and the Steering Committee. OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 therefore now represents an  approved Ajax industry standard.

OpenAjax Metadata (OAM) defines a set of industry-standard metadata for Ajax widgets and Ajax APIs that promote interoperability across Ajax toolkits and Ajax products. In general, Ajax toolkits will produce OAM files (directly or indirectly using post-processing utilities) and Ajax IDEs will consume OAM files.

The IDE Working Group, in conformance with its charter, delivered the following specifications and open source:

  • A complete and detailed formal Specification (the OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Specification). This specification went through three separate detailed editorial reviews and multiple products have implemented major parts of the specification over the past couple of years.
  • Open source implementations at OpenAjax Alliance of major parts of the spec:
    • Open source implementation of an OpenAjax Widget loader (loader.js)
    • Open source converter from JSDoc inline comments into OAM’s XML for describing JavaScript APIs
    • Open source converter from YUI’s JSON format for describing their APIs into OAM’s XML for describing JavaScript APIs
    • An open source sample mashup application that demonstrates how to build a mashup assembly application using OpenAjax Hub 2.0 and OpenAjax Widgets (defined in the OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Specification)
  • A formal language schema, expressed in RelaxNG Compact Syntax, available within the alliance’s open source project
  • A online validator utility that allows developers to verify the syntax correctness of their metadata files
  • Sample OpenAjax widgets, available within the alliance’s open source project
  • A multiple-vendor interoperability event in 2008 (the 2008 InteropFest where various companies integrated their products and technologies with OpenAjax Hub and OpenAjax Widgets (see press announcement)

Beyond the open source implementations done within OpenAjax Alliance listed above, we know of the following other implementations of key features found in the spec:

  • The widget features are supported by Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and are the preferred format for 3rd party widget extensions. The Dreamweaver Exchange contains 3rd party widgets defined in OAM format that use a variety of Ajax toolkits, including jQuery UI.
  • The widget features are supported by multiple IBM commercial products and research projects, including Rational Application Developer (RAD) and IBM Mashup Center. RAD includes a complete collection of Dojo’s widgets (from the Dijit library) expressed in OAM format.
  • Eclipse Foundation has an open source implementation of the OAM JavaScript API features within the JSDT component that is a standard piece of the Web Tools Project.
  • OAM’s JavaScript API features are supported by Aptana Studio.
  • OAM’s JavaScript API features are supported by IBM Rational Application Developer.

OpenSocial/OpenAjax Update and other OpenAjax news

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on December 19, 2009 at 11:17 am

This post summarizes the following recent activity at OpenAjax Alliance:

  • OpenSocial/OpenAjax integration: detailed proposals and proof-of-concept implementation
  • Major products ship with OpenAjax Hub 2.0
  • OpenAjax Hub 2.0.1: removes clicking noise on IE6 and IE7
  • OpenAjax Metadata: detailed editorial review complete
  • Accessibility Task Force: major progress on ARIA tools and best practices
  • Version 2 of OpenAjax Browser Wishlist
  • OpenAjax Registry

OpenSocial/OpenAjax integration: detailed proposals and proof-of-concept implementation

Since September, 2009, various individuals who are in the Interoperability WG have been participating in fast-track coordination work with OpenSocial Foundation to define a new “pubsub” feature in OpenSocial Gadgets that builds upon various technologies from OpenAjax Alliance, particularly OpenAjax Hub 2.0. The latest proposals for how to integrate OpenAjax pubsub into OpenSocial Gadgets are captured on the following OpenSocial wiki page:

Howard Weingram of TIBCO has already produced a proof-of-concept implementation in which he pulled down the latest Apache Shindig open source and the latest OpenAjax Hub open source, and made relatively minor changes and succeeded in getting the two technologies to work together. This proof-of-concept was an important milestone because the OpenSocial process requires a working implementation before spec change proposals will be considered.

In early 2010, we will be working with OpenSocial Foundation on formal specification proposals and open source contributions in this area, with the goal that OpenAjax-compatible pubsub will be an official Gadgets feature with the 1.1 release of Gadgets.

Major products ship with OpenAjax Hub 2.0

OpenAjax Hub 2.0 was approved in July 2009 and already IBM and TIBCO have announced major products that include Hub 2.0 inside. IBM shipped Mashup Center 2.0, where OpenAjax Hub 2.0 provides component isolation capabilities:

IBM will be rolling out updates to other software products using OAHub throughout 2010.

TIBCO PageBus 2.0 bundles and extends OAHub 2.0 (among other things, PageBus adds event caching and origin-based policy management):

Various TIBCO products — for example, BPM products and RIA tools — already use the OpenAjax Hub. More TIBCO products will add Hub-based mash-up technology in their upcoming releases.

OpenAjax Hub 2.0.1: removes clicking noise on IE6 and IE7

A version 2.0.1 update to the open source reference implementation for OpenAjax Hub 2.0 is almost complete. This update provides updated messaging transport logic for IE6 and IE7 that remove the clicking noises that occurred on those two browsers when messages are passed between sandboxed widgets. The 2.0.1 open source update also includes significant cleanups that have resulted in reduced code size. These cleanups are a major step towards allowing the future integration (and minimized redundancy) between OpenSocial Gadgets and OpenAjax Hub. Version 2.0.1 coding is complete and runs successfully against the comprehensive test suite across all target browsers. The update should be finalized in early 2010.

OpenAjax Metadata: detailed editorial review complete

OpenAjax Metadata defines industry standard XML for documenting the widgets and APIs found in Ajax libraries to allow interoperable plug-and-play between Ajax toolkits and Ajax IDEs.

The IDE WG has completed a word-by-word editorial review of the entire OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Specification. A few editorial cleanup tasks remain, and then the specification will be submitted for member approval, probably right away in early 2010.

Accessibility Task Force: major progress on ARIA tools and best practices

The Accessiblity Task Force has made major progress in 2009 on important issues around how to improve the tools available to web application developers to ensure that their applications have good accessibility support.

The goals of the Accessibility TF are to (a) develop a standard set of accessibility validation rules, geared toward meeting compliance to WCAG 2 using WAI-ARIA and WAI-ARIA Best Practices, (b) develop best practices for reporting accessibility compliance by accessibility test tools, and (c) develop IDE best practices to assist developers to produce Accessible RIAs. Here are some of the key wiki pages that show progress to date:

These documents are being developed in collaboration with implementation efforts that target Eclipse and Firefox/Firebug:

Version 2 of OpenAjax Browser Wishlist

Preparation work is underway on the second version of the OpenAjax Browser Wishlist. The main page for the initiative is at:

  • /runtime/wiki/2009_Feature_Requests_Summary_Page

We strongly encourage the members of OpenAjax Alliance to help out with this browser wishlist by adding features, providing detailed information on existing features, and offering their opinions about the importance of particular features. With this new wishlist, a large percentage of the features listed represent new features underway as part of the HTML5 effort at the W3C (HTML WG, CSS WG, WebApps WG, etc.). To some extent, the browser wishlist will represent the Ajax community telling browser vendors which features from HTML5 are most critical to deliver right away.

We had hoped to complete the wishlist in 2009, but the initiative leaders did not have the bandwidth to complete the preparations before the end of the year. Therefore, the wishlist is likely to be announced in early 2010, with various calls to the general Ajax community (including non-members) to vote on which features are most important to see in future browsers.

OpenAjax Registry

In 2009, personally, I haven’t had bandwidth to create initial versions of the OpenAjax Registry, which the alliance decided should become a self-service web application that members and non-members could use to document the JavaScript globals, HTML attributes, CSS classes, and pubsub topics (and payload types) that various products use in the industry in order to maximize interoperability and minimize naming collisions. We still hope to make the Registry happen soon. It shouldn’t be that much work and will provide value to the industry once completed.

Upcoming OpenAjax and OpenSocial coordination meeting(s)

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on September 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

People from both OpenAjax Alliance and OpenSocial Foundation are scheduling one or more meetings in the period between Sept 8-10, 2009 in and around Mountain View, California. Exact schedules and locations are not yet firm. The two (overlapping) goals for the meetings will be around how to integrate OpenAjax technologies with OpenSocial Technologies, particularly integrating OpenAjax Hub 2.0 with OpenSocial Gadgets, and how to make progress towards bringing OpenSocial into the Enterprise (“Enterprise OpenSocial”).

If you are interesting in attending these meetings in person or via phone bridge, please send private email to me (jferrai -at-

Browser Wishlist, 2009 Edition: Preparation Underway

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on September 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm

The 2009 Edition of the OpenAjax Browser Wishlist is now in its early phases. Stephen Walther of Microsoft is chairing the effort. He sent announcements to the OpenAjax runtime@openajax mailing list and the Open Web mailing list at Google Groups:

There is a long email thread with great feedback relative to the 2nd link above.

Our current plans are to conduct the wishlist following a similar process to how things went last year (the 2008 browser wishlist), but likely changes for this year:

  • More compressed cycle for feedback and voting (e.g., compress the review and voting period to about 1 month instead of 3 months)
  • Wishlist content is likely to have a much different focus due to rapid changes in the industry (e.g., HTML5 momentum, rise of mobile devices, use of Ajax technologies outside of the browser)

The best way to be kept informed about progress on this initiative is to subscribe to the email list.

Two new white papers on OpenAjax Hub 2.0

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on September 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The alliance has posted two new white papers that introduce and provide technical background on OpenAjax Hub 2.0:

These white papers are the result of considerable effort within the Interoperability Working Group to make sure that suitable introductory material was available. These two white papers explain the motivation behind and technical approaches within Hub 2.0.

OpenAjax Hub 2.0 Press Coverage

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on August 31, 2009 at 5:13 pm

The OpenAjax Alliance announced today, with a press release, the approval and availability of OpenAjax Hub 2.0 as an industry standard for more secure Web 2.0 mashup applications. Advances in security in Hub 2.0 can help protect enterprise mashups from malicious intent, giving IT staff greater confidence in adding these features to their Web sites. The announcement included supportive quotes from member organizations IBM, Jackbe, Microsoft, Programmable Web RadWebTech, Software AG and TIBCO and was covered by numerous trade magazines, including Infoworld, eWeek, SDTimes and, in Germany, Heise Online.

OpenAjax Hub 2.0 was developed over the past two years at OpenAjax Alliance, an organization dedicated to the adoption of open and interoperable Ajax technologies. Ajax is Web development technology based on HTML and JavaScript that runs mashups, widgets and gadgets. Mashups allow business users to drag and drop “mashed up” components to create customized Web applications in minutes.

The major addition to Hub 2.0 is a JavaScript Library for Secure Enterprise Mashups created to better protect widgets and mashups from hackers and malicious intent. It addresses concerns among IT managers that may have inhibited adoption of mashup software within companies.

Hub 2.0 isolates third-party widgets into secure sandboxes and mediates messaging among the widgets with a security manager. For example, suppose a Web site includes a third-party calendar widget. That widget itself might be malicious or might become malicious if its code has vulnerabilities that allow a site to hijack the widget. Malicious widgets could transmit hijacked data to a scamming web site or piggyback user credentials to read and write from company servers.

Hub 2.0 prevents attacks by isolating untrusted widgets from the main application and other widgets, and by preventing access to user credentials. It protects against widget hijacking due to its features around careful widget loading and unloading and message integrity.

Hub 2.0 consists of two main parts, a specification and an open source implementation.

  • The Hub 2.0 Specification has been recently approved by the members of OpenAjax Alliance as an Ajax industry standard. The specification defines standardized JavaScript APIs for secure mashups and will result in cross-vendor interoperability among mashup tools and mashup components.
  • The alliance has also developed an open source implementation of the Hub 2.0 specification. The open source implementation is written in browser JavaScript and is compatible with all popular desktop browsers.

This announcement is part of a broader set of initiatives at OpenAjax Alliance to accelerate customer success using Ajax. In addition to OpenAjax Hub, the alliance is working on a companion mashup initiative, OpenAjax Widgets, which defines an Ajax interoperability standard for Ajax widgets, and is scheduled for approval in the coming months.

Hub 2.0 also includes a comprehensive test suite and provides an extensibility architecture that allows software vendors and enterprise customers to customize and extend to meet particular needs. The specification and open source have been designed with enterprise performance requirements in mind. The Hub 2.0 technology includes a fast-performance option for trusted widgets (e.g., widgets developed by the company’s own IT department) which allows internal company mashups at scale.

Big News With SVG – Google Helps to Bring SVG to IE, Hosts SVG Open Oct 2-4

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on August 23, 2009 at 8:17 pm

In 2008, OpenAjax Alliance led an industry-wide browser wishlist initiative, where Ajax industry leaders produced a prioritized list of features that Ajax developers needed in future browsers. The top feature on that list was ubiquitous support for 2D vector graphics in the form of SVG and Canvas.

There is good news and bad news on the 2D graphics front today. The good news is that 4 out of 5 major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari) not only support both SVG and Canvas, but have made significant advances in the past 12 months to add features and improve performance.

The bad news is that IE supports neither. Because IE has majority market share, Ajax developers who are determined to use standards-based 2D graphics have been forced to use create JavaScript wrapper libraries for 2D graphics such as dojo.gfx, which renders using SVG on Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari, and renders using VML on IE. Unfortunately, VML has such slow rendering performance that many 2D applications are not viable on a cross-browser basis.

The big news is that Google has teamed with the open source community to produce a phenomenal project called SVGWeb which brings SVG to IE. The SVGWeb project achieves its magic by rendering using native browser SVG engines when available (i.e., Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari) and then parsing and rendering SVG on IE by leveraging Flash under the hood. Note that the Flash plugin ships with every copy of Windows, so wherever IE is, Flash is available. What this means is that standards-compliant vector graphics via SVG is now available across all browsers.

SVGWeb is an amazingly complete implementation of SVG 1.1. It includes support for nearly all of SVG graphics features, its interactive features (e.g., mouse events) and its animation features. Additionally, the community has added support for audio and video (using markup from SVG Tiny 1.2).

Besides playing a leadership role with the SVGWeb project, Google is also offering its facilities to host the SVG Open conference, which will take place at Google’s Mountain View on October 2-4. (Note: OpenAjax Alliance is a conference sponsor.)

I strongly recommend that people sign up for this conference, particularly people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Attendance fees are very reasonable ($320 normal, $160 for students). Most of the conference occurs on the weekend. The theme is “SVG – Coming of Age”, which is clearly appropriate since, thanks to SVGWeb, SVG is now available across all major browsers.

OpenAjax Hub 2.0 Completed and Approved

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on July 28, 2009 at 8:49 am

OpenAjax Hub 2.0 has been finalized by the Interoperability Working Group and formally approved by the members of OpenAjax Alliance and the Steering Committee. OpenAjax Hub 2.0 therefore is now an approved Ajax industry standard. The big new feature in Hub 2.0 (versus Hub 1.0) is its Managed Hub feature which isolates third party widgets (potentially malicious) into secure sandboxes and mediates messaging among the widgets with a security manager. Hub 2.0 consists of a formal Specification and a commercial-ready open source implementation. A more complete announcement is coming soon.

OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Enters Final Review Phase

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on July 28, 2009 at 8:48 am

The OpenAjax Metadata 1.0 Specification is now in its final stages. The specification is complete and the IDE Working Group has begun its final review phase, where the WG systematically reviews the full text of the specification to make sure the content is correct and well-written. The final review phase is likely to last another 1-2 months. If no major problems are found, then the metadata spec will be submitted for approval as an OpenAjax standard (just as what happened recently with Hub 2.0). OpenAjax Metadata defines Ajax industry standards for an XML format that describes the JavaScript APIs and widgets found within Ajax toolkits. The primary objective with OpenAjax Metadata is to drive interoperability between Ajax developer tools and Ajax libraries so that any Ajax tool can work with any Ajax/JavaScript library and any Ajax widget.

OpenAjax salutes (and provides feedback to) OMTP/BONDI

Blogged by: Jon Ferraiolo on March 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm

OpenAjax Alliance is very pleased to see the progress by one of its industry partner organizations, the OMTP, with its BONDI initiative.

BONDI provides industry standard APIs to access mobile device services, such as geolocation, address book, email, SMS, camera and the phone dialer. BONDI also defines a security manager architecture and a standard policy XML file format. The primary goals with BONDI are threefold: (1) enable next-generation rich mobile applications by allowing the Web Runtime (i.e., Ajax) to access the same APIs that are available to compiled languages such as C and Java, (2) ensure that security and privacy concerns are addressed, (3) package the APIs in the form of an industry standard and promote adoption of the standard such that developers will not have to write separate content for different mobile platforms. The APIs defined by BONDI target both Web pages and mobile widgets, particularly widgets that conform to the emerging W3C Widgets standard.

OpenAjax Alliance salutes the efforts and accomplishments to date with the BONDI specs and open source, along with the W3C’s efforts with its Widgets spec. The combination of these two initiatives promise to transform the mobile industry.

In the past, OpenAjax Alliance has helped the BONDI initiative with OpenAjax early work (Spring 2008) on use cases and requirements and subsequent work on a Mobile Device API Style Guide.

Recently (Feb-Mar 2009), OpenAjax Alliance has assembled Ajax industry leaders to review the BONDI 1.0 Release Candidate specifications and collect feedback on the OpenAjax Alliance member wiki.

« Previous PageNext Page »