Developing Rich Internet Applications{1}

In this journal article, the author George Lawton describes different tools and methodologies used when creating Rich Internet Applications. These RIA’s feature responsive user interfaces and interactive capabilities, which in turn makes internet-based programs easier to use and more functional (Lawton, 2008). David Temkin, Cheif Technical Officer of RIA platforms at Laszlo Systems, states that these RIA are much more challenging to develop than normal apps. The most popular RIA in recent history is Google Maps. This application is able to embody the usefullness of RIA’s and how effective they can be when developed correctly. RIA’s generally have clients handle user-interface-related activity, while the application servers store and process data that is sent to the client (Lawton, 2008). This actually is able to free up server resources and allows the servers to handle more clients simultaneously. Most of the time, RIA’s are feature asynchronous communication, where the client engine can interact with the server without waiting for the user to perform an action such as clicking a link (Lawton, 2008). The article actually goes on to state important tools that are used in creating RIA such as AJAX, Google Web ToolKit, Microsoft ASP.NET, Adobe Flash/Air/Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, and Sun Microsystems’ Java. These tools are very popular and there are many pros and cons with each of them. Ajax is still the primary tool that is used and shared among most RIA’s, however, these new tools are able to implement AJAX technology more efficiently to the end user. Many developers hope that Ajax standards and technologies evolve in order to provide a better experience for both programmers and end users alike. There are some lackluster features of most of these developing tools such as the fact that they are limited graphically and that there are no Ajax standards yet for locally caching data and state (Lawton, 2008). However, many organizations and vendors and joined together to form the OpenAjax Alliance, a group that hopes to fix these shortcomings in order to provide a better end product of RIA’s.

This journal article was interesting in that it gave a point of view of RIA’s from about 4 years ago. It is quite intriguing to see that many of the tools that are used in the article are similar to the ones that are used today, however, the evolution of RIA’s since that time is quite apparent. Tools that were mentioned in the article such as JavaFX and Flash have slowly been on the downturn as they are currently being phased out of the industry (based on previous articles that I have blogged about this quarter). The article was able to give a brief summary of each of the platforms on how they work, how many developers actually use them, and what the pros and cons of each developing tool was. It also gave a good background on the companies that developed the developer tools, which I found pretty cool as it gave me better insight on what these tools were meant to do. I also enjoyed the fact that the author was able to go in depth about how AJAX works on the server end and how it also interacts on the user end. This type of information is able to give me a greater appreciation for the technology; especially since we were able to learn about AJAX during the first part of the quarter. I felt that this journal article was very closely related to what we learned in class because it was actually based more around AJAX and how powerful of a tool it is for web development and the applications associated with it. With what we have learned in our CIS 311 class, AJAX is a powerful tool that is able to create amazing RIA’s. Hopefully we will one day be able to develop these types of applications.



Lawton, G.; , “New Ways to Build Rich Internet Applications,” Computer , vol.41, no.8, pp.10-12, Aug. 2008
doi: 10.1109/MC.2008.302