Rich Web technologies debated

AJAX, Silverlight, Flex cited as key players in the increasingly crowded rich Web development technology space

Panelists also addressed the question of application-testing.

"Yes, testing is absolutely crucial, and as an industry, it's something we have not taken seriously for the last couple of years," Davis said.

"I think this is a space that the market realizes isn't served really well right now," said Ryan Breen, vice president of technology at Web performance tester Gomez.

The Crosscheck open-source testing platform was cited by panelist Stuart Holloway, co-founder of software developer Relevance.

The issue of tools for JavaScript was raised. IntellliJ, said Davis, "has got killer JavaScript support, and it's got wonderful CSS support," he said. But lately, he has been developing with the simpler TextMate tool.

"I've found that the overhead of a big heavy tool is less valuable to me than having something that's easy for me to bring up, bring down, refresh," Davis said. This lighter format seems to fit the Web development model, he said.

Panelists and an audience member also mourned the lack of staying power of SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

"SVG just breaks my heart," Davis said. "SVG had the opportunity to be kind of a unified solution. I wish it would come back strong, but I'm not holding out hope."

Silverlight, Holmes said, uses XAML instead of SVG. "My opinion is SVG has kind of stalled and there were some things that were needed beyond it," so Silverlight uses other technologies instead, Holmes said.

Ferraiolo said he was one of the initiators of SVG while at Adobe. "SVG was there in 2001, 2002, but Adobe decided to pull the plug on it despite the fact that it was on 200 million desktops," he said.

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