Laszlo systems has always postitioned OpenLaszlo as a language that frees users from platform lockin. The markup happens to compile down to Flash, but the potential was always there to compile down to another run-time format, such as dot net. But only the potential. Until now. OpenLaszlo will soon support AJAX (a preview of this functionality is being demoed at etech as I write).
This is a huge story for OpenLaszlo as a platform. It validates them as a platform in their own right, instead of the open-source little brother of FLEX. David and Sarah have been broadly hinting that such a thing was coming down the pike for a while: I’m glad that they finally have demoable code!
This move solves (for Laszlo) one problem that every serious organization leveraging Flash faces. Flash is still not taken seriously by developers. This is primarily due to it’s heritage as a much-abused plugin for out-of-control designers at advertising agencies.
The reputation problem will improve over time (I see little abuse of Flash nowadays, and lots of excellent engineering). But this will be an effort that takes years to bear fruit, and Laszlo decided it couldn’t afford to wait.
I need to see some demos of what the output looks like before I can comment more on this. The main issue with the Flash runtime, in my book, is text handling. Text always looks fuzzy, wrong, or hard to read in Flash interfaces, and you can’t cut and paste from the interface to your desktop. So I hope that the output doesn’t look and behave _identically_ to Flash (which would be technically correct, but annoying from a real-world standpoint).
More to come as I play with demos and learn more. Man, I wish I was at etech right now.