I am sure you have heard the news already but wanted to post anyway following a long day of meetings and press briefings that prevented me from doing so sooner.

Well, the rumors are true: Microsoft has officially joined OpenAjax Alliance (OAA).

Over the past year we were really focused on bringing ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 to market much faster than anyone thought we would when the technology was first previewed back in October 2005. Delivering a cross-browser, cross-platform AJAX framework that seamlessly integrates with ASP.NET on the server (ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions) while providing a client-side library that can be used to enhance any server framework (Microsoft AJAX Library) was no small feat.

Many of you may recall the "Atlas" project began a few months before Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 were released. In addition to developing "Atlas" concurrently with the most advanced VS and .NET release to date, we also accomplished some pretty noteworthy firsts along the way to releasing ASP.NET AJAX 1.0. For example, there were the regular Community Technology Preview (CTP) releases every 6-8 weeks, the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit shared source project, the Go-Live licensing with the March 2006 CTP at Mix, the refactoring of the framework into the supported "core" and Futures CTP, and the release of the source code for both the client-side script and server-side managed code.

What does all this have to do with OpenAjax Alliance? It should be clear from our actions during the development of ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 that we have maintained our deep commitment to our developer community. We have been transparent, agile and open. We have solicited and incorporated feedback to help solve real problems in close to real-time. We made it possible for the broader developer community to do AJAX without doing AJAX. Over the past year we have focused on shipping both platform and tools components any developer can use to build enhanced browser-based Web experiences using the skills they already have.

With today's announcement we continue our work on behalf of developers by joining with other industry leaders and AJAX vendors to promote and contribute to a high degree of interoperability among the myriad AJAX frameworks.

It is great to see industry watchers like Ryan Stewart recognize our efforts and commend the work we are doing around standards, openness and interoperability. Stay tuned to Bertrand Le Roy's blog if you want to follow our OAA participation more closely. (Bertrand is Microsoft's OpenAjax Alliance representative.)

By the way, if you happen to be in New York City for AjaxWorld East, be sure to check out Brad Abram's keynote tomorrow morning. He will be sharing his thoughts on AJAX development starting at 7:30AM.