Declaring Dojo for Ajax

New dojo.E effort set to make the open source Ajax framework more declarative and appealing to more developers.

The Ajax (define) approach to Web development is all about making the Web more interactive for users. For developers, toolkits like the open source Dojo Ajax toolkit are supposed to simplifying the task of using Ajax, but that is not always the case.

That's where the new dojo.E extensions effort comes into play, aimed at making Dojo more declarative so that it can be more easily implemented by a wider array of developers.

Dojo.E is a small JavaScript library that a developer includes on top of Dojo, enabling them to mix in the markup language with HTML, or calling it from an external reference file.

"Dojo.E ... allows developers to access Dojo functionality and add Dojo behaviors to their applications using a declarative markup language," Nexaweb Chief Architect Bob Buffone told InternetNews.com. "Right now, if you're using Dojo, you're doing it by using a lot of JavaScript. This new XML markup really abstracts a lot of the underlying Dojo implementation and lets developers interact with a higher-order language."

The effort is spearheaded by enterprise Ajax developer Nexaweb and comes at a time when the technology is extending deeper into the mainstream of enterprise development efforts.

At the same time, Dojo has emerged as a major force in Ajax, having become one of the mostly widely used toolkits, thanks in part to the backing of major vendors including IBM, Sun and AOL, as well as Nexaweb.

Another benefit of building applications against the dojo.E abstraction layer is that it makes it simple for developers to switch out the underlying Dojo library if it's upgraded, Buffone said.

While dojo.E will help individual developers in some ways, it's also intended to assist the vendors with their Ajax tooling efforts.

"The reason why it's important is it lets Nexaweb, as a software provider, build tooling on top of Dojo -- a visual editor for the markup that let developers drag and drop like a WYSIWYG editor," he added.

Nexaweb is contributing the dojo.E effort to the Dojo Foundation with the hope that others in the open source Ajax community will pick it up.

Foundation officials were positive about the potential for Nexaweb's contribution to simplify development.

"I do believe that dojo.E gives a class of enterprise developers that love XML the opportunity to do more than what is normally offered by Dojo's widget system and DojoX.Wire," said Dojo co-founder Dylan Schiemann, who is also CEO of Dojo Foundation member SitePen. "We believe that choice and flexibility are what this is all about, so yes, we support the efforts of Nexaweb in this endeavor."

"The Dojo Foundation strives to support all types of developers, and at the same time, we try to limit the constraints we force on our users," Schiemann told InternetNews.com. "We believe that each additional feature comes at some cost, whether it be a learning curve or performance."

This article was first published on InternetNews.com.






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