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AJAX & RIA Journal Special: Results of OpenAjax Alliance's Browser Feature Wish List

AJAX community ranks vector graphics as top request

What does the Ajax community want from future browsers? How are these different requests prioritized? Web developers have done amazing things with Ajax for both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 applications, but what barriers need to be removed to enable the next generation of browser-based innovations? The future of Ajax runtime environments matters more than ever today. 

In late 2007, OpenAjax Alliance formed the Runtime Task Force (http://www.openajax.org/member/wiki/Runtime) to address this community concern. The goal is to collect, articulate, and prioritize key issues from the Ajax community, and communicate them to browser vendors. This will help educate the community in large, help browser vendors better plan for their product roadmap, and help developers better use Ajax.

Article author Coach Wei speaking at a previous AJAXWorld RIA Conference

There are other great rich Web UI technology initiatives such as W3C’s HTML5, CSS3 and SVG. The OpenAjax browser wish list is not intended to compete with these initiatives, but instead complements them by capturing and communicating the views of the web development community (the folks who are “users” of Ajax techniques).
 
1. The Process
 
The OpenAjax Runtime initiative used a two phased process.  A special wiki site http://www.openajax.org/runtime/wiki/Main_Page was set up to facilitate communication and collaboration.
 
In Phase I, OpenAjax Alliance collected an initial list of feature requests. This is largely done by researching blogs, meetings with OpenAjax members and Ajax experts, and interviewing leading Ajax toolkits.

The initial wish list was announced in April 2008 for community review and feedback.  A group of industry experts were being actively approached for feedback (see Phase I Voting wiki page).

Phase II started in May. The Alliance re-organized the feature lists based on Phase I results.  Phase II wish list was put into voting in June. Voting was open to the general community. For each feature request, a voter can vote from 0 to 10 to indicate how strongly the voter feels the need for this request (10 being the most important).
The voting ended on July 13th 2008.
 

2. Feature List Summary

A total of 55 features were written up by various people in community. These writeups typically cover areas such as what the feature is, background, why the feature is important, possible solutions/recommended approaches for this feature, references, etc.

As a result of community feedback, some features are classified into “InActive”. For Phase II voting, there is a list of 37 active features. The current feature request list is:

Security features

Client-server communications features

HTML5/W3C features
CSS features

Rendering/interaction/event handling features

Performance features

JavaScript features
Other features


3. Community Voting Results

By July 13, when the voting closed, this initiative has turned out to be a bigger success than expected.  Given the amount of effort required to read and understand the vast web technology landscape, and the relatively limited time and resources available to the OpenAjax Alliance Runtime participants,  we were hoping for 50 or so people to vote,  which  would be meaningful to establish a rough idea of what's most important to the community.

Voting results are available at:
Here are some quick statistics:


See next page for the Top Requested Features


More Stories By Coach Wei

Coach Wei is founder and CEO of Yottaa, a web performance optimization company. He is also founder and Chairman of Nexaweb, an enterprise application modernization software company. Coding, running, magic, robot, big data, speed...are among his favorite list of things (not necessarily in that order. His coding capability is really at PowerPoint level right now). Caffeine, doing something entrepreneurial and getting out of sleeping are three reasons that he gets up in the morning and gets really excited.

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