One thing a lot of people at Web 2.0 seems to agree with is that the tools for doing AJAX development aren’t mature yet, and this makes developement more painful than it has to be. This is a market opportunity for development tools vendors. One company with an interesting approach to this space is Morfik.
Using their IDE, developers can build software using their language of choice (Java, C#, etc). The IDE compiles the code down to AJAX. The interesting thing is that the same application could be deployed as a web app, or, simply by configuring the application differently, as a desktop application.
There’s some weirdness in their approach Aparently you can’t use libraries from your language of choice. This would be a real pain to me as a java developer, given that I’m used to using jdbc (for example) to connect to a database. Also, by default applications run using some database that I’ve never heard of before (although aparently you can configure it to use whatever database you want). But this seems like an interesting tool for rapid application development for AJAX.