World Wide Web, since its inception; was tied down by HTML and its restricted features. Though, efforts were made to enhance web technology by introducing server side scripting languages like ASP, PHP, JSP etc but none of them were working to customers’ satisfaction since these languages require constant server interaction and that takes some time. Besides, web technology was not as sophisticated as desktop and looked inefficient when it came to managing complex environment.
Similarly desktop applications, though intelligent and fast, were letting customers down by not able to run on web efficiently. Thus, users always felt a huge gap between web and desktop applications while using them discretely.
To narrow down or close this gap, Technology companies around the world started working on a concept that can integrate both the platforms and ensure customers get best features of both desktop and the web at one place. This lead to the generation of a concept called Rich Internet Applications, or RIA.
What is the exact meaning of Rich Internet Application, what are its advantages over traditional web applications and which RIA development tool is best for you???
Let’s find out answers to these questions: –
Rich Internet Applications – An Insight
The term Rich Internet Application, or RIA, was first coined in the monthly white paper published by Macromedia Inc (now Adobe) in 2002. It referred RIA as a technology that can integrate “”best of the web”” with “”best of the desktop””.
A Rich Internet Application (RIA) runs on the web but provides powerful features and functionalities of a traditional desktop application. Instead of centering on client/server technology in which whole processing is done on the server side, RIA uses client side technology to execute most of the instructions at client side only. Thus, RIA decreases response time and fastens customer’s request execution.
The effect of rich Internet applications has been incredible, both in breadth as well as depth. Large financial services institutions are using RIAs to solidify their brand with customers and speed up internal business decision-making through better interaction with mission-critical data.
Online retailers have reduced shopping cart abandonment by almost 50% during the checkout process. Besides, Individual developers have integrated slick online mapping services with web cams posted on New York City’s traffic lights to give commuters the most up-to-date and useful traffic information. (Source: Adobe Website)
RIA advantages over Traditional Web Applications
Rich Internet Applications hold several advantages over Traditional Web Applications. Some important ones are: –
- More Responsive: – A Rich Internet Application is more responsive than a traditional web application since it uses client side technology to share code execution with the back-end server and together they able to cater user’s request quickly.
- More Interactive: – Rich Internet Application enables developers to create multiple frames and display them on a single screen. Thus, browsers don’t need to refresh forms after every step and rather view next steps or web pages in the same screen itself. The best example is Shopping Cart process where the complete process refreshes user web page at least 7-8 times. A Rich Internet Application, on the other side, can complete the same process by refreshing web page just 1-2 times.
- Faster Processing: – RIA architecture often uses client’s CPU to execute most requests at client side only. Thus, RIA processes queries faster than the traditional client/server architecture in which every request is first send to the server where it is being processed and then reverted back.
- De-congests traffic on server: – RIA architecture is known to distribute work between client’s CPU and the web server. Thus, workload on the main server gets reduced considerably and subsequently it can now handle more queries than before. Thus, RIAs are ideal for those websites/portals that manage huge volumes of data on their server.
- Enhanced Customer Experience: – Results from IDC’s 2001 e Consumer Survey found that 61% of European respondents agreed that it is difficult to navigate and find products on the Internet and more than 60% had bad shopping experience. (Source: – IDC’s survey report). This is due to limitations in traditional web applications.
On the other side, Rich Internet Applications are more interactive, intelligent, flexible, fast and need no extra software installation. Thus, end users will no longer find navigation difficult to use and can enhance their shopping experience by buying everything from a single screen itself.
RIA advantage over Traditional Desktop Applications
Rich Internet Applications hold several advantages over Traditional Web Applications. These are: –
- Accessibility to Web: – The major benefit with RIA is the availability of tools that can provide desktop-based features on the web. Rich Internet Applications can do the same work that you used to do while using your regular desktop applications on the web. Thus, you can now take your entire work (commercial or personal) online and get anytime, anywhere accessibility of your critical applications using RIA.
- Rich User Friendly Interface: – Rich Internet Applications provide various designing tools that help you design better user friendly interface than what you can design during desktop applications development.
- Enhanced User experience: – Even now in corporate, every branch/office is connected to each other via web (Internet/Intranet) and use common web based application to communicate with each other. But again, one is confined within the limitations of web. On the other side, Rich Internet Application architecture gives you the power of desktop on your web-based application. Hence, you have new features and added functionalities for enhanced user experience.
Tools to Develop Rich Internet Applications
Today, there are several tools that can be used to develop Rich Internet Applications. Some popular ones are described below: –
- Active X controls: – Embedding ActiveX controls into HTML is a very powerful way to develop rich Internet applications; however they are only guaranteed to run properly in Internet Explorer. Thus ActiveX controls are advisable only if corporations have standardized on using Internet Explorer as the primary Web Browser
- Java Applets: – Java applets run in standard HTML pages and generally start automatically when their web page is opened with a modern web browser. Java applets have access to the screen, speakers, keyboard and mouse of any computer their web page is opened on, as well as have access to the internet, thus providing sophisticated environment which is capable of managing real time applications.
- User Interface Languages: – As an alternative to HTML/XHTML new user interface markup languages can be used in RIAs. For instance, the Mozilla Foundation’s XML-based user interface markup language XUL – this could be used in RIAs though it would be restricted to Mozilla-based browsers, since it is not a de facto standard. RIA’s user interfaces can also become richer through the use of scriptable SVG (though not all browsers support native SVG rendering yet) as well SMIL.
- Adobe Flex (formerly Macromedia Flex): – The tool that enterprises use to build and deploy RIAs is Adobe Flex 2 – the most complete and powerful application development solution available in the market today.
Flex enables enterprises to create personalized, expressive applications that dramatically enhance users experience, increase customer satisfaction and make users more productive. And, because RIAs run on the Adobe Flash Player 9, enterprises can reach a broad audience of customers, partners, and employees with rich content and interactivity.
Why Adobe Flex is best for your web solution??
One of the primary reasons why Adobe Flex is gaining popularity among developers as well as users is its low response time. Adobe Flex loads the complete module/application at once on client side and use it as and when required. This makes the processing faster since every request is processed at client’s CPU itself rather than going to the server side for processing.
Flex Solutions also offer you several other benefits. In case you are running an e-commerce website, Flex based solutions can help you increase your revenues considerably by reducing shopping process abandonment well up to 50%. Hence you get higher ROI and increased Customer Satisfaction using Flex.
Flex Solutions also come with a unique feature for site administrators called “”Dashboard””. By installing dashboard in your system, you can instantly access your site’s admin panel with just a single click. Besides, you can carry the dashboard file anywhere with you and use it anytime when required.
Adobe, which is arguably the most popular product development company in the multimedia and desktop publishing today, has developed the Flex Architecture. Thus, you can be rest assured with the fact that coming times will bring new improvements and regular upgrades for flex based solutions to keep them one step ahead of the competition.
Why OOPS INFOTECH??
Using its past experience in providing end-to-end solutions in web domain, OOPS INFOTECH offers you expert Flex based Rich Internet Applications development services. We have prior experience in developing Flex software and offering our quality services to companies in UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
OOPS INFOTECH owns all the necessary elements that are required to develop a quality Flex based web solution. Our Team of web developers has prior experience in using Flex based tools such as Flex Software Development Kit (SDK), Flex Builder, MXML, Action Script, JSP, and .NET etc to develop quality solutions for you. Besides, we have also invested in infrastructure upgrade such as installing modern Flash servers that support Rich Internet Applications over them.
OOPS INFOTECH also offers you application migration and re-engineering services. We can re-engineer your existing websites to Flex oriented web solutions and also migrate your desktop solution to a more flexible and powerful Flex based architecture.
Our Flex Based services come at low cost, thanks to our strategic location in Indian sub-continent. Our low prices do not come by staking quality services. Rather, it comes by passing the benefits of friendly government policies, expert human resources and competitive business environment to our customers.