The three hottest topics at JavaOne seemed to be AJAX, SOA, and data persistence. Almost everyone I met at the conference was interested in at least one of those three technologies. So I went to the panel discussion on "Java Technology, AJAX, Web 2.0 and SOA". There were many sessions on AJAX, but the speakers at this included Deepak Alur and Dan Malks, who wrote the Core J2EE Design Patterns book on which FireStorm/DAO is based.
Dan Malks did a straw pole of attendees about why they came to the discussion that produced some interesting results. About half the developers were there were interested in AJAX and about half were interested in SOA. There seemed to be a bit of confusion around the term Web 2.0, perhaps given the developer-centric nature of this crowd and the term's marketing roots.
Since I did not know too much about AJAX before JavaOne, I decided to take a tour of the vendor pavilion to look at all the AJAX products available. Most of them were surprisingly primitive (I will not name the vendors - the list is available on the Sun site). They were just raw technology. What they were missing was a simple development environment to quickly and easily build top-end user interfaces.
The one exception was JackBe. The demo provided Jacob Derechin really blew me away. He was able to build stunning looking, highly interactive Web interfaces that better than I ever imagined possible.
What makes JackBe even more interesting is that they are not content to have the best AJAX technology and they are also combining AJAX with SOA-based back end technology to provide a full end-to-end offering using SOA standards and AJAX. That's completely unique in the marketplace.
I wonder if CodeFutures should provide an AJAX-based user interface for FireStorm/DAO and FireStorm/SDO?