Microsoft is clawing to get back aboard the the DHTML bus with its latest AJAX innovations. Talk about how thought and development leadership has shifted back to the Bay Area and Google, Macromedia, Sun, Yahoo etc. See how Redmond claims they were doing this all along with Outlook Web Access -its just that the companys Smart Client strategy got in the way of more widespread use.

So now Redmond is offering its Atlas development tools for creating JavaScript smart widgets for use in AJAX apps. I would recommend being very cautious about this tool. Let us remember, this is the same company that has:
1)Failed to meet its committments from 7 years ago to fully implement W3C CSS, HTML, and DOM standardsin IE and its Web development software;
2)Continues to support proprietary extensions in JavaScript, HTML, DOM while almost all other vendors have abandoned theirs;
3)Stopped all development on IE except for security fixes from 2000 until this year;
4)Stopped all development on HTA-HTML Applications using DHTML after issuing the call to action at the Denver PDC just a year earlier;
5)Has yet to deliver on the powerful E4X extensions which greatly simplifies XML programming in JavaScript;
6)Will have a tough time resolving the desktop centric Longhorn, Avalon, and Smart Clients with the new found interest in AJAX.

Some argue that all this is is a ploy to steer developers away from Firefox and Opera which continue to gain market share in the browser space. Others argue that it is like Smeagol of Lord of the Rings fame, the good half of Redmond arguing for open Web standards and systems. Let the new betas of IE7 and Visual Studio tell the tale. See how closely they support open standards and specifically how well they reverse all of the above trends. Oh – and look for a stick to open standards switch in Visual Studio 2005- see first if its there; second if it goes beyond a Mickey Mouse club implementation.

Being too hard on Redmond here ?? Redmond has been nothing less than abusive of its avowed number one stakeholder – developers. If anything the IT community has been too kind to Redmond and particularly its top management which has set the abusive agenda.

(c) JBSurveyer 2005