What technology for RIA?

By | December 21, 2005

A dated, but good presentation about RIA using Macromedia products.

I still think Macromedia Flash is the best avenue to build real RIA business applications today. However, I see clearly the problem with choosing this technology. In many organizations, the engineering group dictates the technology used on the client-side. It takes alot of management risk and vision to demand an RIA from their development organization. Most management has not experienced real interactivity on the web (especially in business apps), so they do not know to demand it. It is a catch-22…Until the experience is standard, management of new web applications company’s will not demand the higher quality experiences.

Macromedia is working on the next generation of their Macromedia Flex product. This product is targeted directly at the engineering community. They are attempting to create a “Visual Basic” for Flash. The problem here is that Macromedia has no experience with developer tools.

Additionally, Microsoft is working on an alternative model called Sparkle. Sparkle, will allow development of RIAs. Of course, the output will be built into internet Explorer 7 and Vista. Of course, Microsoft will use it’s monopoly of the OS and Office to make Sparkle work better than Flash. Of course, they will crush Flash like everything else they have set their sites on. Of course, they will tightly integrate with .net. Of course, they are going to win this fight.

So that makes my original statement moot. Making an RIA app for today’s technology, runs the risk of being outdated within a single year. Better to use Sparkle and build for the future.

Overall, this puts the lowly UX designer in a pickle. We want to build rich UX applications, but we need a partner in engineering to meet us halfway. We need to have the technology resolved. Hopefully, this situation will not too much longer.

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