IBM in the News: AJAX, DB2, LAMP

IBMThere have been some very exciting developments from IBM over the last few weeks. Here are four areas of major interest to me:

AJAX Toolkit Framework (ATF) Project

In January 2006 IBM announced the ATF Project. The goal is to extend the Eclipse platform to allow for extensible frameworks and exemplary tools for building IDEs (integrated development environments) for the many different AJAX runtime offerings such as Dojo, OpenRico, and Zimbra. These tools will contain features for developing, deploying, debugging and testing AJAX applications, which is not so easy to do using development tools of today.

The tools built upon these frameworks will include some very exciting features:

  • Enhanced JavaScript editing such as edit-time syntax checking;
  • An embedded Mozilla web browser;
  • An embedded DOM (Document Object Model) browser;
  • An embedded JavaScript debugger.

Open Ajax Initiative

On February 1st IBM and other industry leaders announced the "Open AJAX" initiative to promote the adoption of AJAX technology. This project is going to see collaboration between BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, IBM, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla Corporation, Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo, Zend and Zimbra.

The goal? To promote Ajax's promise of universal compatibility with any computer device, application, desktop or operating system, and easy incorporation into new and existing software programs.

DB2 Express-C

On January 30th IBM introduced a free version of its DB2 database. DB2 Express-C is the same database as IBM's commercial offerings but the company places limits on what kind of hardware it can run on. It can be deployed on systems with two processor cores or up to two dual-core chips on AMD or Intel-based servers. The memory limit is 4GB but there are no limits on the size of database or number of users.

This move really follows the footsteps of Microsoft with SQL Server Express, and Oracle with Oracle 10g Express Edition.

Already the LAMP-based community is showing interest in using DB2. For example ActiveGrid has just released an edition of its front-end development tool and server software to work with DB2 Express-C. DB2 offers some exciting functionality not found in PostGres or MySQL, such as the ability to combine PHP with DB2's native XML capabilities.

PHP Collaboration Project

This is now old news, but late last year IBM joined forces with Oracle, MySQL, Intel, Actuate, ADP, FileMaker, Schematic, StepUp Commerce, OmniTI,, SugarCRM,, and Marco Tabini (publisher of PHP Architect Magazine) in the PHP Collaboration Project. The initial objectives of the project are:

  • Zend PHP Framework: A Web application framework which will standardize the way PHP applications are built. The framework will accelerate and improve the development and deployment of mission-critical PHP Web applications
  • Engagement with the Eclipse Foundation: Zend is joining the IBM founded Eclipse Foundation as a Strategic Developer. Zend is now proposing to lead a project focused on PHP within Eclipse


I for one am enjoying seeing IBM partnering with other companies and projects to help formalise the future of AJAX and a PHP Framework / toolset. I haven't decided about DB2 yet for my everyday projects – but I will be taking a look for sure.

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