Rich Internet Applications
Traditional desktop applications are characterised by having a rich user experience and complex GUI (menus, multi-window, multi-tabbed, etc…) that run fast and are deployed locally on the end user platform. They start becoming problematic when the user community is not localised and the application has to be used across networks with different security constraints. Additionally, when the user community is large, the installation, maintenance and flexibility required for the access becomes difficult as new factors as compatible hardware; OS, libraries, etc, might need to be taken into account for each particular user. .
Web applications, on the other hand, provide a way to overcome those problems by introducing a thin client-server architecture based on Internet standards and protocols. A simple web browser replaces the presentation layer in the application and the rest runs centralised on a server, so that a connection to the network is enough for anybody to access the application from anywhere. No need for installations and updates on the client system. The major problem with traditional web applications are that they are very static, all application interaction must go through the server, requiring data to be sent to the server and the server to respond; they also lack a rich user interface.
Rich Internet Applications try to bridge the two worlds, combining the best of both technologies, introducing an additional client layer (client engine) technology that allows the execution of code on the client side to provide better performance and a rich GUI experience.
The major justification points for RIA are:
· No need for installation/updates. Updating and distributing the application is an instantaneous and automatic process. This is a big advantage when deploying an application where flexible and extensive access is required.
· End users can use the application from any computer with a network connection and access the server, and usually regardless of what OS the computer runs.
· User communities for an application can be easily extended even through security-managed areas as standard protocols are used.
· They are cross browser and cross-platform.
For more information, download our whitepaper: RIA- Framework evaluation