Saturday, November 06, 2004

Rich Internet apps and state informations

John Udell points out why Rich Internet Applications (RIA) have not yet become, what we call phenomenon on the web.
I argued that Gmail's aggressive use of DHTML qualifies it as a kind of RIA (rich Internet application). As e-mail correspondents and bloggers pointed out, the technique has a fairly long history. Many wonder why it remains on the fringe. The reason, I think, is partly a weakness common to all RIA technologies. Whether it's based on DHTML, Java, Flash, .Net, or just a standard GUI, an RIA has a client/server architecture. Unlike a Web application that manages state information almost entirely on the server, an RIA achieves a more balanced distribution of that information between server and client. The benefits that flow from this arrangement can include responsiveness, context preservation, and offline capability.
Web based software does provide a very important (and often neglected) strength in the form of state information being stored at the server side. From providing transient application continuity of a user's web experience to facilitating integration opportunities amongst various web applications, across various servers, it can all be accomplished with a standard Web-based architecture.

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