I suppose a lot of this is different when you are building something from scratch, but legacy environments also factor into how you build your app. As I've learned more about WebObjects, I've been increasingly disappointed. While it has some of the Cocoa coolness, it's very Web 1.0. In contrast, the more modern frameworks' ability to return JSON data or HTML mark up from the same request is fantastic.
I can't talk explicitly about what's going on with Coherent, but I can tell you that personally, I'm very keen to solve the server interaction problem. What I'd like to build is essentially Core Data on the client-side. Provided your server application supports RESTful interfaces, the client-side model would then be synchronised with the server.
I'm far more excited by Jaxxer than Helma, because like you, I don't want a Java environment. Jaxxer is built on SpiderMonkey, which is written in C. As a result, ISPs might be more willing to install it. I haven't been tracking the development of Jaxxer as closely as I'd like, but it sounds like they are tackling some of the server integration issues as well.
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