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Laszlo Releases Ajax Runtime, Webtop Software

Laszlo Systems this week released a new version of its rich application development environment that supports the development and delivery of Ajax and Flash applications from a single code base.

Adding Ajax makes good on Laszlo's promise to build applications that are cross-runtime, not just cross-browser or cross-OS. It gives Laszlo an advantage over its main competitor, Adobe, and also brings it into more direct competition with Ajax development vendors such as Nexaweb. However, the new platform is not a direct competitor to Adobe's Apollo, announced yesterday: Whereas Apollo is a single client-side runtime that supports multiple development platforms, OpenLaszlo is a single development platform that supports multiple client-side runtimes. In practice, most OpenLaszlo applications will probably continue to require Flash, especially in enterprise environments where IT has control of the client configuration. This is illustrated by Webtop, Laszlo's Flash-based desktop environment that showcases OpenLaszlo's capabilities. Webtop could become a strong platform for server-based desktop applications (either from SaaS providers or hosted in-house by enterprises) if it is able to attract developer support.

Andy Dornan
NWC Technology Editor

With Web applications, a development environment is only as good as the runtimes it supports. Laszlo applications have typically been targeted at Flash players. The new OpenLaszlo 4.0 release adds support for browser-centric Ajax environments, broadening the base of potential desktops that can run Laszlo-created apps.

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