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PHP has several Ajax packages: JPSpan and SAJAX come to mind, with JPSpan being the more mature option.
I was reading the Ruby manual yesterday and it sounded like the typical oop hype I've been seeing in language after language for years now. Thinking that Rails goes on top of Ruby was giving me a headache about using this technology. Happy to see people working on a way to use ajax with php. Looks like it needs a lot of work but at you have to start somewhere.
What does look cool about rails is that webhosting company that seems to have the right platform for ruby/rails development. They seem to care about giving their customers what they need. Not a lot of hosts do this.