Rich Internet Application (RIA): The Future of Web Development

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Ever surprised that some web pages work exactly like a standard desktop application? Web services like Google Analytics and Google Docs work like a standard desktop application and require no physical installation. These are called rich internet application and nowdays many web design and development companies worldwide are using these platforms to deliver superb, reliable and highly functional web pages.

Rich Internet Applications or RIAs are delivered either with the help of a web browser or browser plug-in and are developed using some of the known technologies such as Java FX, AJAX, Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex or Microsoft Silverlight. RIAs are capable of providing opportunities to deliver better user experience and with help of modern technologies; a rich internet application developer can make it more user friendly and faster.

Most rich internet based applications are build using AJAX or Flash. Technologies like Microsoft Silverlight and Java FX are also used. RIA enables users to perform functions such as drag and drop, inline editing and even using interactive maps. Unlike conventional page based internet applications, RIA can provide better range of controls to offer better, faster user interaction and better error management. Conventional HTML based internet applications with radio buttons or check boxes can not provide enough usability to users. Internet based applications are faster and does not require page reload or refresh as soon on most traditional HTML based internet applications.

Today many modern website uses RIA-style user interfaces. Some of them are as follows:

  • Google Maps,
  • Google Docs,
  • Back Pack It,
  • Odeo Enterprise,
  • Google Analytics, and
  • Flickr.

RIA enables users to access useful information / contents on the same page instead of a new page. Confirmation, error messages and even feedbacks are made available on the page within. This is one major advantage since you can do not have to open up a new browser window to access the rest of the content. RIA has the capability to interact with data and even manipulate it, instead of presenting or visualizing it. It also has the power to offer provide real-time status indicators whenever background processing requires.

Rich internet application web development is tough and requires loads of technical expertise to execute it successfully. Use of certain principles can make this job little bit easier. They are as follows:

  • Keep the application light weight,
  • Must use Transitions,
  • React without delay,
  • Make it direct,
  • Try to stay in the page.

Rich internet applications are typically built on Adobe's Flash Platform since it offers complete integration of RIA development technologies and is the leading solution for this job too. Other platforms that can also be used are Adobe's LiveCycle ES and ColdFusion.

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