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From Grzegorz Kossakowski <>
Subject RIA technologies (was: Re: Wicket integration)
Date Thu, 30 Aug 2007 16:09:33 GMT
Reinhard Poetz pisze:
> Technologies for RIA that run within browsers have been around for years
> - do you remember, there was something called "Java applets" long time
> ago ;-) - but I think that none of them will become the dominator for
> public internet applications because nobody wants to rely on something
> which needs to be installed by the user.

Applets had been promoted before Web2.0 term has been coined and, most importantly, applets
utterly slow and ugly looking. There were no tools for designers that could experiment with
good looking UI for their own as it's today in Ajax or Flash applications.

I'm taking installation issues into consideration but if your application is worth downloading
installing some VM people will do it. As long as it's matter of one-click installation people
do it even if they will have to go for a five minutes break caused by download size.

In multimedia-oriented apps Flash is dominator for years now and nobody complains that Youtube
relies on Flash. If people want to watch all these movies, it's not the issue.

> If this would have been the
> case, everybody would write his applications for Flash (Flex/OpenLaszlo)
> but from my experience that's not the case (the exception are intranet
> applications but in that case you control the environment ...)

It's all happening now, there are already serious companies using Flash for developing RIA.
Polish, big company (Onet) has launched Google Maps alike site called Zumi (
guessed it, Zumi uses Flash instead of Ajax for their map application and you know what? I'm
openSUSE 10.3 now and I have not even noticed they are using Flash. Only after third visit
I started
to wonder how it's built and why it is loading little bit faster than Google Maps and discovered
they are using Flash...

Once again, risk of forcing user to do one-click installation of Flash is not an issue today.

> In contrast, Ajax frameworks run in every modern browser (IE>=6, FF,
> Safari) and modern Ajax frameworks (prototype, mootools, dojo, jQuery,
> etc.) are really impressive.

Yes, the progress is spectacular but I'm still feeling all these framework are fighting too
issues and contain too much hacks. Last time I had to work with Dojo was my Forms refactoring
and I
remember that debugging Dojo was very painful experience. I hope situation improved since

What I'm also concerned about is that if anyone takes into consideration long-term future
of Ajax
and it's ability to innovate. We have been already surprised by what Ajax gurus can achieve
but I
fear that there is a wall somewhere and with sign "Internet Explorer" painted. Since Microsoft
a lot of effort into their own RIA technology I hardly see a reason why they would want to
innovation into their browser.


Grzegorz Kossakowski

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