Sun Microsystems is working on an alternative to AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) for building web applications.

The company's Project Flair is an open source project now in development, said Dan Ingalls, a Sun distinguished engineer and a principal investigator on the project. A version of Flair for developers to experiment with is eyes for release later this year.

"It's a self-supporting web programming kernel that's all written in JavaScript," Ingalls said during the Sun Labs Open House event. Small and simple, Flair presents a "great vehicle for experimenting with [what] I guess what you would call, sort of, collaborative object development, that kind of thing," said Ingalls.

"It’s sort of almost an opposite approach to AJAX," using a multi-user whiteboard concept for development, he said.

"AJAX sort of deals with all of the old way of doing things. It makes it simpler, which is great, but underneath it’s still all this junky HTML, Document Object Model, CSS, all that stuff, where 30 years ago, we knew how to do that stuff cleanly with a dynamic programming language and a simple graphics model," Ingalls said.

"Flair takes us back to that simple model and adds the collaboration [and] web access to it," he said.

Flair could spawn various new product concepts and make Sun customers more productive, Ingalls said.