I’m pretty suspicious when it comes to web applications that try to behave like rich ones (automatic refresh is just evil). So Ajax is pretty much something I didn’t want to spend too much time until it was picked up by some Java API or JSR.
Most of the experts around Web applications know nothing about rich application toolkits (and the opposite is also true). One exception that comes to mind is Amy Fowler who was spec lead for JSF for a while (I’m sure there’s more, but they’re exceptions IMO). But now that Ben Galbraith, of Swing fame, is actually promoting Ajax, I guess that’s one more thing I need to look at.
Update: this is yet another reason for me to look at it.