January 12, 2007, 12:00 AM

Choose carefully among Ajax site development tools, analyst warns

Ajax, one of the hot new development tools for making web sites more interactive and user-friendly, is available in some 130 flavors and e-retailers should choose among them carefully, Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond says.

 

Ajax, or asynchronous Javascript and XML, one of the hot new development tools for making web sites more interactive and user-friendly, is available in some 130 flavors and e-retailers should choose among them carefully, Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond says.

“Ajax is available in about 130 frameworks, and doing an assessment of all of these is cost-prohibitive,” Hammond says.

Ajax, by sharing processing power between a shopper’s web browser and a retailer’s web servers, lets shoppers call up new images on a web page without having to take the conventional route of waiting for a new page to load. The technology has the potential to provide for easier and faster shopping experiences on web sites, in turn reducing shopping cart abandonment rates while increasing visitor-to-sales conversion rates, Hammond says.

One of the most effective ways to choose among Ajax frameworks is to look for open-source versions that are less costly than proprietary versions and are often supported by major technology companies. Retailers planning to integrate Google Maps on their sites, for example, might consider Google Inc.’s Ajax open-source web tool kit.

Hammond adds that one of the more popular open-source Ajax frameworks, known as Dojo, is supported by technology companies including IBM Corp., which can support its development through IBM Global Services. Another is OpenLaszlo from Laszlo Systems, which developed the recent redesign of Walmart.com. Although Walmart.com so far has used Flash technology instead of Ajax, the OpenLaszlo technology will permit it to also deploy Ajax-designed applications.

 

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