Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Google, Sun, and the Web Based Office Suite

When Google and Sun said they would make a common announcement in a public webcast, technical blogs all around started crank up speculations about what that announcement would be. And with Google in there, it had to be something big.

What Google and Sun finally announced yesterday will not change the world as we know it today, and the most interesting thing did not come from what Google and Sun announced, but from observers' analysis of the situation. Even after the announcement Tom's Hardware wrote:

The Google/Sun joint announcement today apparently does not concern AJAX, or any Google project that uses AJAX. However, OpenOffice 2.0 does include tools with which users can generate so-called XForms, that are deployable on other users' systems by means of AJAX.

Google is known for creating very responsive web applications; web applications that behave more like desktop applications. GMail and Google Maps are two examples. They are doing so leveraging a set of technologies available in modern web browsers, often referenced as Ajax. While people have been using Ajax for a while now, Google has been the first to bring that technology to the masses. They have done that for mail; now could they do it for office applications? If they do, the logical choice would be to use the OpenDocument format now standardized by OASIS. That format uses XForms as its form language, for which we created at Orbeon an Ajax-based implementation in our open source PresentationServer (OPS) product. Now can you see the different pieces starting to come together?

1 comment:

  1. Many are now dreaming of a web-, Ajax-, OpenOffice-based office suite made available by Google and taking on Microsoft. Maybe this is a sign that we are past the age of the desktop, but for sure we are in the age of Ajax, and OPS is on the right track there with XForms NG!