AJAX Year one: Hype or next big thing

It’s a year from now when the term AJAX was born, and everybody is getting crazy about AJAX-style applications. The fact is that Rich Internet Applications has been in our mind since the early creation of the web. I can remember terms like X-Internet, or products like Altio , Laszlo or Flex. But Google rules, and the Google hype has made Javascript the King of the Technology World.
You don’t need to go back in the past more than two or three years to remember phrases like ‘Javascript is not a serious language to build applications’, or ‘Never use Javascript except for simple things’. Javascript was like a second class language for HTML designers and some other non-real enterprise developers (please read the smile in my face…). Now if you want to be a real enterprise developer you must have in your curri­cula Javascript, DHTML, AJAX, DWR, Dojo…
So now we are listening voices claiming for a Javascript Office, and I wonder myself if we are trying to use Javascript and DHTML in places where it does not apply. Maybe we are just two years old kids with a hammer in our hands: everything is a nail.
Five years ago I had to take over a web application that implemented a huge amount of stuff in JavaScript. It was a nightmare of compatibility between different versions of Internet Explorer (we did not even give a try to Netscape).
So I’m skeptic about the performance of a development team building cross-browser applications in Javascript. I’m wondering myself if the people building the next AJAX-style RIA has chosen the AJAX solution because of the AJAX Hype, or because they really believe that Javascript applications are the next big thing. There are just a few (killer?) apps that takes advantage of AJAX, and most of them are not real applications, but little pieces of code to be mashed up in bigger applications. And here comes The Problem that most of the people have not faced yet: putting different Javascript and DHTML pieces altogether has an overhead because of the complexity of the integration. If you have worked with different JavaScript libraries may be you have faced problems of naming clash of the functions, for example.
AJAX will become the next big thing when a set of ordinary Rich Client Application are substituted by a suite of RIA applications (like GMail, for instance), AND there is a clear advantage using the RIA approach againsts the classic Rich Client Application. I guess we are still far from being able to substitute desktop applications by RIA applications.