Ajax, Flash, and Uncertainty

Richard makes some good points in PB&J: The Flex-Ajax Bridge that I'd like to follow up on a bit:

[Re: Ajax] More importantly, there are something like 50 open source libraries to choose from. Which one do you choose?
The swarm of Ajax libraries is a hard problem, but an exiciting opportunity too. It reminds me of the early days when there were 15-20 EJB containers. How do you pick a library? Here's some tips:
  • You gotta know JavaScript. Deeply and thoroughly. JavaScript is not Java, nor is it similar. I'd rather have a bunch of good JavaScript programmers and pick the wrong library, than a bunch of bad JavaScript programmers pick the right one.
  • When choosing a library, consider excellent development process at least as important as corporate backing. Look at the winners and losers in Enterprise Java--it strikes me as a rough split between established players and newcomers who executed well. Ajax will be the same, and some new big names will emerge.
  • But how do I evaluate the development process of closed-source frameworks? Hmm... Nuff said.
  • Pick something with ties to a strong server-side stack.
  • Can you just recommend something? Sure: Prototype, Scriptaculous, and Dojo. That's what we use, and what we teach people to use. Are they the best? Dunno--but they score well on all the criteria above.

Richard goes on to say:

Now to the point about the Flex-Ajax bridge developed by Ely Greenfield. In my opinion, this bridge is the single most important advancement in Ajax this year.
The year is pretty young so I won't go that far yet, but I totally agree with Richard that Ajax and Flash are (at this stage) complementary. If you're serious about [insert web hype term], you need to be looking at both.

We'll be talking about all this stuff, and more, at the next Pragmatic Ajax: Studio on April 25-27 in Chicago.

(Via Richard Monson-Haefel.)