Whither Ajax?


Ajax, the fleet son of Oileus, commanded the Locrians. He was not so great, nor nearly so great, as Ajax the son of Telamon. He was a little man, and his breastplate was made of linen, but in use of the spear he excelled all the Hellenes and the Achaeans. —The Iliad

Ajax son of Oileus is traditionally called Ajax the Lesser, while Ajax Telamon’s son is Ajax the Greater.  The Trojan War  is often portrayed as a battle between the national heroes of two great armies, Hector on one side, and Achilles on the other.  What makes the arraying of the sides peculiar is that, in fact, the Achaeans have two heroes that can defeat the war chief of the Trojans.  Both Achilles and Ajax the Greater are superior warriors to Hector.  This feature was actually a giveaway to many classicists back in 1959 that the newly released western Warlock was based on The Iliad.

Two years ago Microsoft began a campaign to carve out a niche in the Ajax world.  They did so with the release of .NET 3.0 and later .NET 3.5.  One of the innovated approaches they took to being a player in Ajax was to support an open source project called the Ajax Control Toolkit.

According to one of the contributors to the Toolkit, however, there have been no releases of the Toolkit for five months, and apparently no suggestions of any plans for the Toolkit:  http://forums.asp.net/t/1283218.aspx .

So is the Toolkit dead?  Is Microsoft’s determination to be a player in the Ajax domain waned, to be replaced by a greater interest in making Silverlight the Flash-killer?

Microsoft says no, and has published a new document explaining Microsoft’s Ajax roadmap  http://www.codeplex.com/aspnet/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=14924.  When it comes to RIAs, Microsoft is insisting that it is going forward with both Silverlight and Ajax. 

The specifics about the Toolkit are admittedly vague, however.  Somewhat more peculiar, a check of the contributors to the Toolkit project on Codeplex shows that at least half of them have not checked in any code for the past 60 days.

Which leads one to wonder: is ASP.NET AJAX named after Ajax son of Oileus, or Ajax son of Telamon?

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