Last month, I wrote a bit about Copy and Paste, the history of technologies like rich content embedding, and how this stuff will evolve in the world of Ajax applications. The next day, Microsoft announced Live Clipboard, which was followed shortly by a draft spec. There was also some interesting feedback on my post from Digg.
Now it seems like there's some even stronger advances, which I'm super excited to see. The brilliant team at Zimbra has just blogged about ALE - Ajax Linking and Embedding. The key points:
AJAX Linking and Embedding (ALE) provides the ability to embed rich content into an editable document and to then interact with and edit that content in much the same way as it is done with traditional office suites and applications in a desktop environment. A key difference is that instead of embedding objects that are backed by installed desktop applications (e.g. a spreadsheet or drawing application), within the ALE world the embedded objects are AJAX components that are embedded into an editable HTML document. These components adhere to a set of design patterns specified by the ALE specification.
Sweet! Now, I realize it makes me a super-nerd to be excited about this stuff, but someone has to be. There's a demo spec up already, I'm curious to see if anybody else will implement this and test out the possibilties for interop.
Update: Jon Udell's screencast on Live Clipboard is a great resource to check out if you're interested in this stuff.