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RIA & Ajax: Article

Exclusive Q&A with Coach Wei - Chairman, Founder & CTO of Nexaweb

"Trust your intuition. Chances are no one knows your business better than you do."

'Ten years ago,' Nexaweb Chairman, Founder & CTO Coach Wei tells Jeremy Geelan in this exclusive interview with AJAXWorld Magazine, 'I was as a poor graduate student naive enough to start a company at the bottom of the 'dot-bomb' burst. I learned so much coping with the 'nuclear winter,' raising $18M in financing, working through all the challenges associated with the market, dealing with investors and everything else. I only wish that I had known all this before I got started.'

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AJAXWorld Magazine: As the technology commentator who coined the phrase “the AJAX wildfire” fifteen months ago, less than a year after Jesse James Garrett’s seminal essay, what was it precisely that made you so certain that AJAX was going to spread Web- and world-wide? How did you know it was no mere fad?

Coach Wei: Since 1996, the dream of a high performance, richer, interactive and continuous web experience has haunted me. I wrote one of the first AJAX applications (AjaxWord, http://www.ajaxword.com) in an attempt to figure out how to achieve “Web 2.0.”  In 2000, I left my job to start Nexaweb (http://www.nexaweb.com) and help make this new generation of web experience a reality. In 2003, Nexaweb released one of the first Rich Internet Application platforms, which currently powers 7,000 enterprise deployments of mission-critical applications.

AJAXWorld Magazine: Still on the subject of names and industry segments, how would you distinguish between “Web 2.0,” “Enterprise Web 2.0”, and “Enterprise 2.0”?

Coach Wei: “Web 2.0” is an umbrella term that covers a new level in terms of the user’s experience of web applications and the life experience due to the deep penetration of the Internet into our society.  The rise of AJAX and its ability to deliver continuous high fidelity applications typifies the “Web 2.0” user experience, while consumer sites such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace exemplify the life experience. Their impact on our business lives is going on quietly behind the scenes and, I predict, it will create even more of a transformation than it has for the consumer sites.
“Enterprise Web 2.0” refers to the adoption of “Web 2.0” into the business arena. Beyond the obvious collaborative solutions like blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and social networking, “Enterprise Web 2.0” brings a fundamental computing paradigm shift that can only be compared to the changes from server-centric computing via mainframes, to client-centric computing via the PC/desktop, and back to server-centric computing in the form of Web 1.0. The “Web 2.0” computing architecture is neither server-centric nor client-centric; rather, it is an “architecture of partition” (see this) that enables developers to choose the right architectural partition for applications (see this).
“Enterprise 2.0” pertains to the collaborative aspects of “Enterprise Web 2.0”: blogs, wikis, mashups, etc. There is no reason that “Enterprise 2.0” should be restricted to these aspects only.


AJAXWorld Magazine: Tell us a little about the role of the OpenAjax Alliance in the AJAX story so far…
Coach Wei: The OpenAjax Alliance (OAA) (http://www.openajax.org) is an organization made up of  over 100 members (most of them corporations, but there are a few individuals too) with the mission of standardizing AJAX development. OAA is probably one of the fastest growing organizations in  software history, expanding from a handful of members to over 100 in just 18 months. Many members are competitors in their corporate lives, but within the context of OAA they all work to accomplish widespread adoption of AJAX.
Without OAA, the evolution of AJAX from a “geek’s secret weapon” (as it has been for years) to a mainstream technology powering Web 2.0 would take five times longer to achieve.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
JF 01/02/08 10:06:12 PM EST

OpenAjax Alliance does help raise the awareness of Ajax and helps standardize Ajax. -it helps to take Ajax to the mainstream.

Jim Standings 12/28/07 05:18:07 AM EST

So the OpenAjax Alliance is what took AJAX from "Geek's Secret Weapon" to the mainstream?