[OpenAjaxIDE] Bootstrapping

Jon Ferraiolo jferrai at us.ibm.com
Tue Oct 23 13:26:34 PDT 2007

Does your response mean that everything else in my email is good? I assume
that the answer is no, and that your response represents only the subset of
things you could think of at the moment. In any case, it would be good if
you and others could respond with what parts sounded good and which ones


             Bertrand Le Roy                                               
             microsoft.com>                                             To 
                                       Jon Ferraiolo/Menlo Park/IBM at IBMUS, 
             10/23/2007 01:18          "ide at openajax.org"                  
             PM                        <ide at openajax.org>                  
                                       RE: [OpenAjaxIDE] Bootstrapping     

A few points:
      ·         I’m a little uneasy about having the name OpenAjax (or even
      something generic such as metadata) as the file name because if the
      file gets separated from the library or gets out of the folder, you
      can’t guess what’s in there without opening it. I’d prefer a
      convention that is a variation of the library’s file name. i.e.
      prototype.js -> prototype.metadata.xml
      ·         We shouldn’t force people to put different libraries in
      different folders if they don’t want to.
      ·         The file should be discoverable from the directory where
      the file sits as well as from some central directory on the file
      system that’s determined by the IDE itself. This enables web authors
      to not have the metadata file pollute the web site if they don’t want
      it there.

From: ide-bounces at openajax.org [mailto:ide-bounces at openajax.org] On Behalf
Of Jon Ferraiolo
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 12:52 PM
To: ide at openajax.org
Subject: [OpenAjaxIDE] Bootstrapping

(I'm only sending this to ide at openajax.org because this is mostly centered
on IDE workflows, not mashup workflows, although this proposal does attempt
to address some of the expected requirements from the Gadgets TF)

We have looked at various grammars (XML, JSON and JSDoc) for representing
library metadata (APIs and widgets). At our last phone call, there was a
sense that we would be able to take the best features from each of the
proposals such that we could define a unified XML grammar that might
address all of our requirements. This is all good.

My question today is how does it all get bootstrapped (i.e., discovered,
loaded, initialized)? Let's assume we have an IDE and two Ajax libaries,
"A" and "B". How does the IDE discover A and B, make them available to the
IDE, and how does it find (or possibly auto-generate) the XML metadata
files that describe the APIs and widgets?

Here is one approach that might work:

1) An Ajax library is assumed to have a root folder, and everything needed
by the library descends from that root folder. It is assumed that the IDE
"discovers" a given library either because the library ships with the IDE
or the library can be imported into the IDE somehow (post-installation),
and the key thing that the IDE needs to know is the name of the root folder
for the library.

2) To bootstrap library metadata, a file named OpenAjaxLib.xml file SHOULD
exist in the root folder. This file provides overall metadata about the
library (e.g., version#). But note the word "SHOULD". It is OK if
OpenAjaxLib.xml is separate from the library, in which case the IDE will
need to collect the metadata some other way, such as prompt the user
provide the location of the OpenAjaxLib.xml file.

3) API metadata and widget metadata can be scattered around the directory
structure. Assume that the IDE will recursively search through directories
to find those files. No need for a master manifest file, which is difficult
to keep up to date. We simply have to come up with a standard filename for
the metadata files, such as OpenAjaxAPI.xml and OpenAjaxWidget.xml. (Note:
we might provide an optimization feature in OpenAjaxLib.xml where explicit
search paths could be defined and the toolkit developer can choose
different names than OpenAjaxAPI.xml and OpenAjaxWidget.xml)

4) We make sure that OpenAjaxAPI.xml can be generated dynamically by the
IDE through a just-in-time transformation (e.g., transforming MS's inline
XML annotations into OpenAjaxAPI.xml or transforming JSDoc inline
annotations into OpenAjaxAPI.xml)

5) We attempt to define the format for OpenAjaxWidget.xml such that:
a) it can be used to serve all common definitions for "widget" (WUI=UI
controls, WMASH=Mashup widgets, WDASH=Installable desktop gadgets such as
b) we make sure there are lossless transformations to/from selected
existing WMASH and WDASH widgets formats (e.g., Apple Dashboard, Google
Universal Gadgets)

6) Allow OpenAjaxWidget.xml to include API definitions that apply to the
given widget. Therefore, inside of OpenAjaxWidget.xml there might be tags
from OpenAjaxAPI.xml.

Relationship to the proposals from Adobe, Aptana, and MS, plus also jMaki:

a) OpenAjaxWidget.xml should be largely analogous to jMaki's widget.json
file, but needs to (roughly) support the union of features from Adobe's
proposals and IBM's proposal to the Gadget's TF, plus offer an
extensibility approach such that a rich UI system like dijit could embrace
this format down the road. (Not saying that dijit should do this, but the
format should allow this as a future possibility.)

b) OpenAjaxAPI.xml should be extensible in a manner that address's MS needs
for supporting other languages. (As we discussed at the last phone call.)

c) Under the extensibility veneer per (b), the description of JavaScript
APIs probably should look a lot like Aptana's markup language

Bottom line, my thinking today is that we need 3 different formats,
OpenAjaxLib.xml, OpenAjaxAPI.xml and OpenAjaxWidget.xml.

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