Editor's Corner

What's new with Mobile AJAX?
One interesting effect of Apple's strange stance on third-party iPhone software is that many developers are looking into mobile AJAX again. After all, doesn't have Flash or Java, but it does have a fancy AJAX-capable browser.

Opera's Platform is still considered the primary AJAX platform, but it requires an extended version of the Opera browser and few consumer devices already have the client. Another option is Pocket IE, which supports the XMLHTTP object, but it's hardly cross-platform.

One new option is Mojax, a new AJAX-like development platform from mFoundry. Mojax has been generating a lot of buzz even though it's still in private beta. The catch is that it doesn't actually run through a Web browser; Mojax scripts ("moblets") actually consist of a Java ME interpreter applet that ties together JavaScript, XML and other tools. Critics say Mojax isn't a true AJAX platform and mFoundry CTO Rodney Aiglstorfer insists that it is, but the truth is it doesn't really matter. The point is that developers can (theoretically) use Mojax to create cross-platform applets without writing a single line of Java. However I'm wary of any system that is supposed to make programming easy (especially on mobile devices).

Ever since Open Gardens published an essay on the "disruptive potential" of mobile AJAX in March 2006, mobile AJAX has been constantly "just around the corner," but in the past month or two there have actually been some interesting developments. I wrote that 2007 will see the first round of real mobile AJAX apps. I still think that this is true and my money is still on Opera Platform, but Mojax is definitely worth watching, especially once it hits 1.0. - Eli