Sun's jMaki does mix-and-match AJAX widgets

Sun Microsystems Inc. unveiled technology for mixing and matching JavaScript widgets from different AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) frameworks at the AJAX Experience conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Called Project jMaki, the technology features an open source JavaScript Wrapper Framework for the Java platform. Developers can take JavaScript widgets from popular AJAX frameworks such as Dojo and wrap them into a JavaServer Faces or JavaServer Pages tag, providing a Java language view of JavaScript components.

Sun is enabling developers to program to one model and use widgets from multiple frameworks. "There's certain pieces of functionality that exist in some that aren't in others," such as the Dojo rich text editor, said Dan Roberts, director of developer tools marketing at Sun.

With its jMaki technology, Sun is addressing an issue with AJAX, but also may face obstacles, said Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink.

"I can see that [jMaki] would definitely be useful. One of the challenges that AJAX faces is the development [in] JavaScript, so it's hard to maintain, it's hard to debug," Bloomberg said. "Moving to a Java development environment makes a lot of sense."