Last week I spoke with Todd Hay, VP of Marketing at ActiveGrid.

“Too often, we fight ourselves in the AJAX community. For customers, there is too much confusion between AJAX libraries such as Dojo, JQuery, Prototype or the tens and hundreds more. Customers get overwhelmed and look towards Adobe or Microsoft. Other times, customers want to use an open source library and there is no support option available.”

Considering that we’re still early in the product lifecycle for Web 2.0 runtimes/libraries/technologies, the average customer doesn’t want to make a bet on a product (or company) that may be gone in a few years. In these cases, choosing Adobe or Microsoft feels safer. I can understand when a customer selects Adobe AIR or Microsoft Silverlight because of some capability or feature not sufficiently available in an OSS AJAX framework/library/product. But selecting AIR or Silverlight to reduce the confusion between OSS AJAX frameworks/libraries/products signals a problem for AJAX communities and vendors. There appears to be a need for some overarching standards for AJAX-based frameworks. These standards would enable customers to choose between various implementations with confidence. The OpenAjax Alliance is working towards “Standardizing Ajax Development” (as their logo says – note that ActiveGrid, Adobe & Microsoft are all members of the Alliance). But there is definitely more that could be done, and done faster.

To this point, Todd explains:

“We recently acquired TurboAJAX Group, a company that had 2 of the top contributors to the Dojo project. We are committed to the Dojo community and will be offering subscription support offerings for Dojo and for TurboAJAX products, which are built on Dojo. Next, we’re going to release TurboStudio under the GPL to minimize barriers to adoption. We’re also going to work with other members of the AJAX community on ensuring a greater degree of collaboration.”

Releasing TurboStudio under the GPL (coming soon) is great news . However, I think that the more important goal is getting some degree of collaboration and standardization across the AJAX world. Choice is good, but without standards, choice leads to confusion, which in turn leads to many customers making the ‘safe choice’.