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Move over, AJAX; Microsoft is pushing a different scenario, known as Asynchronous Ruby and XML, or ARAX.

At the RailsConf conference for Ruby on Rails developers in Portland, Ore., on May 30, John Lam, creator of the IronRuby project at Microsoft, told eWEEK that as Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application environment takes off it will provide Ruby developers with a way to deliver AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)-style applications without having to use JavaScript.

"If you're a Ruby programmer and you like Ruby as a language, context-switching into JavaScript is just something you have to do," Lam said. "It's a tax. You're trading productivity away arbitrarily because that's just what runs in the browser. And it's much more interesting when you can run the same language on both sides [the client and the server] so you don't have to do that context switch."

In essence, using ARAX, Ruby developers would not have to go through the machinations of using something like the RJS (Ruby JavaScript) utility, where they write Ruby code and RJS generates JavaScript code to run on the client, Lam said. "Sure, you could do it that way, but then at some point you might have to add some JavaScript code that adds some custom functionality on the client yourself," he said. "So there's always that sense of, 'Now I'm in another world. And wouldn't it be nice if I have this utility class I wrote in Ruby...' Today if I want to use it in the browser I have to port it to JavaScript. Now I can just run it in the browser."



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