Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Janakiram MSV, John Katrick, David H Deans, Andreas Grabner

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Java IoT, Machine Learning

Microsoft Cloud: Article

AJAX, Java, Flash, and .NET

Rich Internet applications market place

Enterprise Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are the next evolution of business application development. There are four different approaches to RIA development - AJAX, Java, Flash, and .NET - and many different RIA solutions available today. This article answers the following questions: What are enterprise RIAs? Which approach should you use? Which solutions are appropriate for you? And how are RIAs being adopted today?

Welcome to a New Paradigm
The Web began as an environment for content sharing and small-scale data transfer via e-mail, newsgroups, and so forth. These initial uses quickly led to more sophisticated applications particularly in the e-commerce arena. However, the Web wasn't architected with rich application services in mind. Its document-centric model has by and large thwarted developers looking to leverage the Web as a platform for enterprise-class applications.

Beginning in early 2005, popular new Web applications like Gmail, Google Maps, and Flickr awakened the entire Internet community to the possibility of a far richer Web experience. Web developers were quick to discover and leverage the technical approach that these applications used, which was first termed AJAX (for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). The excitement around AJAX focused more attention on the wide spectrum of Rich Internet Application (RIA) development tools and the various approaches available.

Gartner calls RIAs "the next evolution of the Web." They represent the next big evolutionary step for enterprise application development. They deliver the high performance and robust functionality of desktop or client/server software combined with the universal reach, no-install deployment, and centralized management of browser-based apps. RIAs represent the next paradigm for building, deploying, and maintaining enterprise applications. The impact of RIAs on business will match that of PC desktop computing - bringing operational efficiency and productivity to a whole new level, while decreasing costs.

Enterprise RIAs versus Consumer RIAs
In general, Rich Internet Applications can be classified into two categories: enterprise RIAs and consumer RIAs. Enterprise RIAs refer to RIAs whose users are primarily business users. This includes internal enterprise IT applications as well as B2B applications. Consumer RIAs refer to RIAs whose users are primarily individual consumers, such as consumer Web sites, as well as B2C applications.

Enterprise RIA Opportunities
A growing number of Fortune 1000 companies have already adopted Enterprise RIAs or will do so in the near future. According to Gartner, "By 2010, at least 60% of new application development projects will include RIA technology, and at least 25% of those will rely primarily of RIA (0.7 probability)."

Organizations that seek competitive advantage or greater operational efficiency are increasingly exploiting RIA technology to re-architect traditional client/server applications, such as those written in Visual Basic or Java Swing. RIAs can offer all the rich features and performance benefits of these "thick client" alternatives, while eliminating the need to install and maintain a custom client on user desktops.

Enterprise RIA technology is also of great value to companies that wish to improve the performance and user experience of traditional HTML-based Web applications. RIAs can radically improve the responsiveness of browser-based applications because they enable processing to take place on the client, thus reducing network demands in comparison to HTML's inefficient "click-wait-refresh" model.

Moreover, Enterprise RIAs mesh perfectly with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web Services initiatives (see references to Dion Hinchcliffe and Dana Gardner). Their role in this model is to deliver SOA-based services to users via a wide range of devices, while at the same time reducing the cost and complexity associated with managing networks and client-side deployments. In particular, RIAs can reduce the need for development teams to create multiple interfaces to applications using disparate technologies, as is the case with client/server and HTML-based architectures today. As SOAs become the method of choice to deploy both new and existing business services, enterprises will increasingly employ RIAs to bring those services to their end users.

Approaches to RIA Development
Though it's still evolving, today's RIA marketplace is already rich in choice, and IT teams are challenged to match technology options with business goals. But while there are a variety of approaches and products available for building and deploying RIAs, they nearly all fall into one of only two basic categories:

  • Object-oriented programming (OOP) based approaches, such as Java and .NET and
  • Scripting-based approaches, including AJAX and Flash
The comparative strengths and weaknesses of the different RIA approaches center largely on the programming model and application execution environment they employ. The programming model impacts development and maintenance efforts, the availability and cost of developer skills, the availability of industry and development community support, and such. The execution environment significantly impacts not only application performance, functionality, and reliability but the deployment model as well.

Comparing RIA Approaches
In general, OOP approaches confer the advantages of strongly typed object-oriented programming such as improved code maintainability and reuse, and are better suited for enterprise-class applications. Scripting-based approaches offer the advantages of scripting and are best suited to quickly finishing simple tasks done.

Among the OOP-based approaches:

  • Java-based RIAs generally leverage a client-side Java engine. Client-side application logic (if any) is written in Java, while the UI is defined using XML. The client-side components execute inside a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that is typically embedded in a browser.
  • .NET-based RIAs rely on a .NET virtual machine. The UI can be programmed using .NET controls or Microsoft's XAML. Client-side logic is generally programmed in C# or a similar language.
Among scripting-based approaches:
  • AJAX-based RIAs typically employ a relatively simple browser-based JavaScript library for greater interactivity. The UI is most often defined using DHTML/JavaScript; client-side logic is also written in JavaScript. The client-side execution environment is the browser itself.
  • Flash-based RIAs run in the Flash animation engine. The UI is defined using SWF (a proprietary binary format for defining Flash-based movies) or with XML markup compiled into SWF. Client-side logic is programmed in ActionScript, a scripting language developed by Macromedia (now Adobe).
Table 1 summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of these four approaches.

RIA Solutions Today
There are many RIA solutions available today. Each of them fits into one of the approaches mentioned above. Some of the solutions come with tooling that can simplify development and maintenance. Table 2 shows a list of solutions available today.

More Stories By Coach Wei

Coach Wei is founder and CEO of Yottaa, a web performance optimization company. He is also founder and Chairman of Nexaweb, an enterprise application modernization software company. Coding, running, magic, robot, big data, speed...are among his favorite list of things (not necessarily in that order. His coding capability is really at PowerPoint level right now). Caffeine, doing something entrepreneurial and getting out of sleeping are three reasons that he gets up in the morning and gets really excited.

Comments (7) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Joe 09/20/06 04:43:35 AM EDT

I would like to point to a new framework I found for doing RIA the object oriented way but still resulting in standard DHTML/AJAX. Check this live sample here http://samples.visualwebgui.com/mainform.wgx and find more info here http://www.visualwebgui.com.

n d 09/19/06 04:00:34 PM EDT

Enterprise Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are the next evolution of business application development. There are four different approaches to RIA development - AJAX, Java, Flash, and .NET - and many different RIA solutions available today. This article answers the following questions: What are enterprise RIAs? Which approach should you use? Which solutions are appropriate for you? And how are RIAs being adopted today?

j j 09/19/06 03:34:31 PM EDT

Enterprise Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are the next evolution of business application development. There are four different approaches to RIA development - AJAX, Java, Flash, and .NET - and many different RIA solutions available today. This article answers the following questions: What are enterprise RIAs? Which approach should you use? Which solutions are appropriate for you? And how are RIAs being adopted today?

j j 09/19/06 03:28:22 PM EDT

Enterprise Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are the next evolution of business application development. There are four different approaches to RIA development - AJAX, Java, Flash, and .NET - and many different RIA solutions available today. This article answers the following questions: What are enterprise RIAs? Which approach should you use? Which solutions are appropriate for you? And how are RIAs being adopted today?

AJAX SUX 08/27/06 03:39:39 AM EDT

AJAX SUX.
Javascript is the number 1 culprit of popup ads, browser hijackers, virus infectors, pop unders, browser crashes, hangs, gaudy annoying banner advertisements, flashing blinking ad-rotators, dumb rollover buttons, forms that don't work, ONLOAD crap, window resizers, dorky little mouse pointer trails that look like little bouncing balls following your little mousie all around like a junior high school myspace page caliber web programmer, stupid little purple scrollbars, incompatible browsers, exploit hooks, automatic download links that don't work, etc etc.

In fact, there is now a world wide movement to get RID OF JAVASCRIPT. Javascript is on its way out. People are already annoyed with it and are boycotting sites and advertisers that use Javascript and they are preferring sites that use normal standard HTML.

any websites that continute to use Javascript are dumped and nobody visits them and those companies using gratuitous and unnecessary Javascript on their sites are blacklisted. Form buttons, form validators, anything. Any programmer using Javascript = Loser.

Greg Holmberg 08/01/06 01:35:05 PM EDT

As usual, Wei conveniently leaves off the list one of the best designed and most efficient solutions in the Java-based category: UltraLightClient from Canoo.

http://www.canoo.com/ulc

The server-side API is almost identical to the Swing API, the network protocol is highly optimized and puts just 1/10th the data on the network as HTML, and there is a plug-in to Eclipse for GUI building.

JDJ News Desk 07/28/06 11:02:36 AM EDT

Enterprise Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are the next evolution of business application development. There are four different approaches to RIA development - AJAX, Java, Flash, and .NET - and many different RIA solutions available today. This article answers the following questions: What are enterprise RIAs? Which approach should you use? Which solutions are appropriate for you? And how are RIAs being adopted today?

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.