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From "Coach Wei" <co...@nexaweb.com>
Subject XAP (Extensible Ajax Platform) Proposal
Date Wed, 03 May 2006 02:31:57 GMT
Resending the proposal in plain text format here - apologize if the
early HTML format caused inconvenience for you.... 

________________________________________
From: Coach Wei 
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:11 PM
To: 'general@incubator.apache.org'
Subject: XAP (Extensible Ajax Platform) Proposal

Hello: below is a project proposal for incubation consideration. The
project welcomes your feedback as well as interest in involvement (such
as additional mentors etc.). This proposal is also located online at
http://wiki.apache.org/incubator/XapProposal . 

Best regards, 
---Coach


XAP Proposal
An Ajax-based Rich Internet Application framework 
April 2006, Coach Wei (cwei at nexaweb dot com) 

PROJECT PROPOSAL
XAP is to provide an XML-based declarative framework for building,
deploying and maintaining rich, interactive, Ajax-powered web
applications. A basic principal of XAP is to leverage existing Ajax
projects such as Apache Kabuki and Dojo, as well as other community
efforts such as Eclipse openAjax. It aims to be pluggable with various
Ajax toolkits, reduce the need of scripting and solve the development
challenge as well as application maintenance challenges associated with
Ajax programming. 

0. Rationale
Ajax is a widely recognized approach for building richer, dynamic, more
interactive web applications, known as "Rich Internet Application"
(RIA). RIA combines the richness of desktop software with the universal
deployment advantages of the web, representing the next evolution of
application development. 

With the recent excitement around Ajax, tremendous effort is underway,
from many directions, to make the creation of RIAs easier. Toolkits that
provide DHTML and JavaScript (Ajax) support are proliferating and
provide a rich set of functionality allowing developers to quickly add
dynamic features to web applications. 

Although these toolkits ease development of Ajax-powered web
applications, there are still significant development and maintenance
challenges, mainly associated with writing, debugging and maintaining
JavaScript code. In particular, some developers would prefer not to use
JavaScript. 

There are many possible solutions to address these challenges and each
approach can solve the challenges to a different degree. On the one
side, open source community has responded with Apache Kabuki and Eclipse
openAjax projects. On the other side, standard organizations have been
working on standardizing Ajax(XmlHttpRequest for example) and related
browser behaviors. A higher level abstraction via a declarative format
helps solve the Ajax development challenges by reducing the need for
scripting while providing a straightforward way of building rich user
interfaces, but also provides a mechanism to combine the above mentioned
community efforts together for greater benefits. 

Building on these vibrant community efforts already underway, the
proposed project is to create an extensible software framework for
building and deploying Ajax-powered rich internet applications
declaratively. The project is "pluggable" with client side Ajax toolkits
such as Kabuki, works with openAjax as well as other Ajax initiatives.
The mission of this project is to encourage innovation around
declarative Ajax development, build a community, and provide an open
source framework for building and deploying rich internet applications
independent of browsers and servers. 

This project seeks to provide 

*XML markup that provides a declarative format for Ajax-based rich user
interface, separating presentation and behavior; 
*Declarative data binding that links user interface components with data
sources, separating presentation and data; 
*Declarative modification syntax for updating the user interface; 
*A "bridge" mechanism that allows easy plug-in of existing UI Ajax
toolkits. 
*A framework that ties everything together; enabling asynchronous update
and event handling; 

The architecture of this proposal embraces existing Ajax toolkits, such
as Apache Kabuki and Dojo. At the core of the architecture is the
concept of "bridges" that allow declarative tags to be connected to any
toolkit and allow the toolkits to be easily interchanged. It also
supports "plugins", allowing tags to be easily added or extended to
support custom widgets and behavior. 

Key benefits: 

*XML syntax describes UI instead of JavaScript code 
*XML syntax describes asynchronous update instead of JavaScript code 
*Built in support for data binding 
*Enables tools that can generate XML to create the UI rather than
JavaScript 
*Simplifies application development and maintenance 
*Extendable with various JavaScript UI toolkits via the "bridge"
mechanism 

0.1 Criteria
Meritocracy:
We plan to do everything possible to encourage an environment that
supports meritocracy. We know that meritocracies don't just evolve from
good intentions; they require actively asking the community for help,
listing/specifying the work that needs to be done, and keeping track of
and encouraging members of the community who make any contributions. 

Community:
We are committed to building a strong community around the proposed
project. The committers will supply example code and documentation to
help bring new members up to speed as to the current functionality of
the code and how it is organized and maintained. In addition, the
committers plan to spend the time necessary to answer user and developer
questions. Along with our plans to encourage meritocracy (mentioned
above), we hope these efforts will eventually create a user and
development community that can live beyond the contribution of any one
person and beyond the goals of any contributor's employer. 

Core Developers:
More than half of the initial committers are key members of Nexaweb's
development, test, and project management team. The rest are developers
who have had significant experience with the framework or the
technologies it is built upon. Some of these committers are contributing
to this project on behalf of their employer, some of them are
self-employed consultants, and some of them are just contributing as
individuals. 

Alignment:
The project is a pure client-side implementation. It should support any
server side infrastructure. The initial code base is targeted to support
the following environments: 

*Client side: Internet Explorer and Firefox initially. We expect support
for other browsers in the future. 
*Server side: any web server environment (Tomcat, Geronimo, Apache,
.NET, PHP, etc.). 

For further information, please see http://www.nexaweb.com/open/xap 

0.2 Warning signs
Orphaned products:
The initial code contribution is being developed specifically for the
developer community and is not an orphaned product. The committers have
long term interest to develop and maintain the code. 

Inexperience with open source:
Only a few of the initial committers have contributed to open source
projects; however, all of the initial committers have been reading
Apache process documents, the incubator general mailing list, and the
dev lists of current Apache projects. We've also spent time with ASF
members and at ApacheCon to prepare ourselves as much as possible. 

Homogenous developers:
The initial list of developers consists primarily of paid employees of
the donating company. The donating company has reached out and will
continue to reach out to build a diverse and vibrant community. The
remaining initial committers are independent. They have had experience
with the technology before and are personally passionate about the
technology. 

The committers are geographically distributed. They are experienced with
working in a distributed environment. 

Reliance on salaried developers:
Some of the initial committers are salaried developers employed by
Nexaweb. Nexaweb is committed to open source and committed to building a
community for this project. The remaining developers are individual
volunteers who are passionate about the technology. The donating company
has reached out and will continue to reach out in its effort to build a
diverse community. 

No ties to other Apache products:
This proposal is related to many ongoing projects at Apache, such as
Kabuki and MyFaces, and it fits into the overall vision of that set of
projects. There is an optional dependency on Kabuki. 

A fascination with the Apache brand:
The committers are intent on developing a strong open source community
around the XAP framework whether Apache is the right place or not;
however, we believe that the project's current use of Apache projects,
the potential for future synergies, and the Apache way of developing
software make the ASF the ideal host community. 

1. Scope
Provide declarative syntax and framework for writing Ajax applications. 

The initial commit will contain: 

*XML processing abstraction 
*XPath support - limited support initially 
*Incremental Update - remove, set-attribute and append 
*UI Component Library bridges 
*Declarative framework 
*Open XML specification and schema 
*Samples and documentation 

For further technical or background information, please see: 

 http://www.nexaweb.com/open/xap. 

2. Identify the initial source from which the subprojects are to be
populated
The initial source will be denoted by Nexaweb Technologies Inc. The
donating company will make code available after the proposal is accepted
and necessary infrastructure has been set up. For further background or
technical information, please see  http://www.nexaweb.com/open/xap for
more details. 

2.1 External Dependencies of the project
None. 

3. Identify the ASF resources to be created
3.1 mailing list(s)
xap-ppmc (with moderated subscriptions) 
xap-dev 
xap-commits 
xap-user 

3.2 Subversion repository
 https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/incubator/xap 

3.3 Bugzilla
xap 

4. Identify the initial set of committers:
Atsuko Pien 
Scott Boyd 
Robert Buffone 
Cliff Schmidt 
Coach Wei 
Michael Turyn 
Peter Eacmen 
Animesh Kumar 
Jonathan Levin 

5. Identify Apache sponsoring individual
Champion: Cliff Schmidt 
Mentors: Cliff Schmidt... 

We request that the Apache Incubator PMC sponsor XAP as an incubating
project. There is not currently another TLP that would be an obvious fit
as sponsor for this project. As the project approaches graduation, we
would reevaluate possible TLP destinations and work with others at
Apache to consider whether a new TLP is warranted to include XAP and
possibly other related Apache projects. 


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