In late 2005, thanks largely to the globetrotting of David Boloker, IBM's CTO of Emerging Internet Technologies, a small number of leading companies brainstormed about how to ensure that Ajax fulfills its potential as the industry standard rich application platform based on open technologies. These early discussions came to a climax on Feb. 1, 2006, with the announcement of the "OpenAjax Initiative", whose 15 original companies included BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Google, IBM, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla Corporation, Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo, Zend and Zimbra. (See press release on launch of OpenAjax with 15 original companies.)
Between February 1 and May 15, another 15 organizations joined "OpenAjax", and the (then) 30 companies held a two-day kickoff meeting in San Francisco to lay out the blue-print for the initiative moving forward. At the meeting, the group decided to establish the OpenAjax Alliance, defined its mission, agreed on an interim organizational process, and established its initial activities. (See article on first OpenAjax meeting.)
Subsequently, the participating companies defined a formal governance model via the Members Agreement, executed on its initial marketing and technical activities, posted its initial Web site and White Paper, began work on the OpenAjax Hub, elected its Steering Committee, and then held a second two-day kick-off meeting on Oct 5-6, 2006, in Santa Clara to discuss operations, priorities and possible new activities. Since there, the Alliance has made considerable progress on multiple fronts, largely due to the efforts of its multiple Working Groups and Task Forces.
The sections below summarize the current state of OpenAjax Alliance, including its mission, objectives, process, and the activities that the Members of OpenAjax Alliance will pursue.
The OpenAjax Alliance is an organization of vendors, open-source initiatives and Web developers dedicated to the successful adoption of open and interoperable Ajax-based Web technologies. The alliance's prime objective is to accelerate customer success with Ajax by improving the customer's ability to mix and match solutions from Ajax technology providers and helping to drive the future of the Ajax ecosystem.
The OpenAjax Alliance provides value to the software community on both technical and marketing fronts. With its technology initiatives, which include specifications and open source software, the alliance will address key Ajax interoperability issues so that developers can successfully use multiple Ajax technologies within the same Web application. With its marketing initiatives, the alliance will help educate the community on how to achieve success with Ajax using open technologies.
The legal foundation for OpenAjax Alliance activities is the OpenAjax Alliance Members Agreement that all Member organizations have sign.
The members of the OpenAjax Alliance elect representatives from seven companies to positions on the OpenAjax Alliance Steering Committee. The Steering Committee manages the affairs of the OpenAjax Alliance on behalf of its member organizations. Among other things, the Steering Committee has final approval on the creation of Working Groups and Specifications.
The Membership and Steering Committee have agreed to a formal Development Process by which the Membership, the Steering Committee and other stakeholders lead, influence, and collaborate with Working Groups to develop Materials.
The OpenAjax Alliance develops its Specifications and other published Material within Working Groups that are chartered and approved by its membership and Steering Committee. At this point, the alliance has the following Working Groups:
The following working groups are currently active:
The following working groups operated in the past and produced various formal Specifications and Materials, but are not active at this time:
The OpenAjax Alliance establishes task forces to investigate possible areas of new activity. The task forces are informal groups of interested members who perform relevant research and then produce recommendations for future alliance activities. Sometimes task forces are promoted into formally chartered working groups.
The following working groups operated in the past, but are not active at this time:
Although the OpenAjax Alliance does not intend to become a broadly focused, formal standards body, the alliance does engage in standards-related activities when such activities appear necessary in order to achieve objectives for greater interoperability, vendor choice and promoting innovation. As a result, the OpenAjax Alliance will sometimes develop its own formal specifications and/or open source to fill critical industry gaps. In these cases, the expected outcome in the long term is to turn over such work at an appropriate point to a formal standards organization or open-source project. Often, specifications and corresponding implementation work will occur in parallel.
The OpenAjax Alliance has an open source project at SourceForge where it develops reference implementations of its specifications and other materials that are useful to the community.
A focus of the OpenAjax Alliance is collaboration with other key standards efforts. Members of the OpenAjax Alliance may participate in standards activities within other standards bodies and open source projects to help accelerate the coordinated advancement of OpenAjax technologies and products.