Roads to RIA

RIA applications can be ‘Rich’ in many ways. In my previous post Rich Internet Application (RIA) should be cross-platform, I had touched upon one common aspect of RIA (the user experience), while talking about the definition of RIA.

RIA applications can be “Rich” in:

a. Experience

b. Functionality, and

c. Access

Experience. Adding ‘Rich Interface’ to web hosted apps was the origin of RIA. This has led us to AJAX and renewed look at capabilities offered by Dynamic HTML, Javascript and CSS. For users tired of Prev|Next, server-round trip waits and TextArea popup, it has been refreshing to see inplace edit, scrolling tables and some drag-n-drop.

Newer RIA platforms will further enhance interactivity. Adobe Apollo that combines HTML with Flash has set a high expectation in this dimension. Also, Parakey that claims to be a platform to build application for mom and pop, should rank high.

Functionality. Add ‘Rich Internet’ to desktop apps (that anyway carry rich interface) and you have a new class of apps that can be called the “Desktop RIA”. These applications behave like web apps, but have the full power of using local resources, as well as web resources (through Web Services APIs). Such applications can use local media resources and computing capabilites at the client (GPU for example) to enrich user experience.

Access. The third dimension where the application can be rich is about how an application can be accessed. The ZapThink report on this subject, “Rich Internet Applications: Market Trends and Technologies“, mentions two such capabilities for rich clients:

  • allowing users to interact with applications in online and offline modes
  • access from multiple channels such as mobile phones, occationally connected laptops and PDAs.

It is very interesting to see products annoucements like The Dojo Offline Toolkit.

Given the high-level of activity and innovation happening in the RIA platform space, we should be seeing a variety of offerings that provide differing level of capabilities to RIA developers. However, RIA platforms must address all the three aspects of making applications “Rich”.


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6 Comments »

  1. > access from multiple channels such as mobile phones,
    > occationally connected laptops and PDAs.

    I agree with this and other points you mentioned. I also posted about different type of connectivity and synchronization capabilities and noticed the same points in your post :-). That validates that point is useful..

    -abdul

  2. […] Is there a reason why richness of interface is played up, although RIAs are meant to provide richness in 3 dimensions? […]

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