Part of my responsibility at work is to be on the lookout for new technologies that give us a competitive edge that we can incorporate into our next-gen high-tech applications. Currently, I’m on an AJAX kick. Well, its really a love-hate relationship: I love what it can do for me, I hate the horror that is JavaScript and DHTML.

I do find, however, the more and more I coerce JavaScript into a Java-like format (with coding conventions, clean code formatting, etc), the easier it is to deal with. But, why isn’t there a JavaScript IDE that can tell me when our code is invalid? <napoleon-dynamite>Gosh! I freakin’ hate JavaScript. It freakin’ sucks!</napoleon-dynamite>. Maybe the next JS standard will make lives easier. I hear ActionScript 3.0 is a good step forward, but that doesn’t help me much right now.

I don’t know why I digress – almost everything my teams do is related to high-throughput High Availability and Systems Integration apps written in server-side Java. But, our company does pride itself on providing super elegant GUIs on top of the enterprise business tier – we feel its what makes us different and more valuable than most other consulting shops. Plus, its also nice to occasionally dip into other languages to keep on your toes.

So, on our latest project, I’ve found these JavaScript libraries to be invaluable (the first time people see the app, they’re blown away by how good it looks – welcome to Web 2.0):

  1. Prototype
  2. Scriptaculous
  3. Rico
  4. DWR (easy AJAX with Java)

And although I’m not at liberty to show this product (yet) due to contractual restrictions, I found an app named Meebo that is based on the same principles. Although our app is much larger (millions of users directly supported, etc) and in an entirely different vertical domain the front-end client technologies are similar. Check it out, they’ve done a nice job.