Customer Portal

Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

Rich Internet Applications

To keep abreast of today’s fast paced world and the demands of business, technology must constantly evolve. One of the fastest growing solutions today, is the use of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Rich Internet Applications provide innovative solutions to the end-user by using new client side technology in a unique combination with supportive server side components. With the use of RIAs, Web applications can have the look and feel of true desktop applications, with the advantage of the browser-based light-client interface. It also provides for a more create and visually appealing experience.

To keep abreast of today’s fast paced world and the demands of business, technology must constantly evolve. One of the fastest growing solutions today, is the use of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Rich Internet Applications provide innovative solutions to the end-user by using new client side technology in a unique combination with supportive server side components. With the use of RIAs, Web applications can have the look and feel of true desktop applications, with the advantage of the browser-based light-client interface. It also provides for a more create and visually appealing experience.

The concept of Rich Internet Applications, are the combination of web development and a deployment model that possess the functionality to interact with and manipulate data. They bring to the table, the best features of the Web and desktop, but can also include other options like multiple fonts, vector and bitmap graphic files, animations, video conferencing, chatting, as well as, audio and video. The RIA solution focuses on providing end-users with browser-based application interfaces that reflect the richness and complexity of the data and logic coming from an applications backend, which in turn enriches user experience. Just the positive “experience” for the end-user that can result from an RIA solution; in itself is worth seriously considering its advantages.

Business Application Solutions for Today
Rich Internet Applications

Rich Internet Applications can provide an excellent solution for business applications. Businesses that implement RIAs have the potential to increase user and developer productivity, leverage existing IT environments, and lower operational costs. By improving these factors, businesses can prepare for future growth by extending assets over several client environments, resulting in time, money, and resources saved. Interacting with partners and stakeholders is only one of the advantages of implementing RIAs.

For businesses, end-user “experience” is very important. A satisfied end-user is one that can repeatedly use an application without interruptions or the need to use multiple clicks to navigate. Satisfaction also comes from not having to wait until multiple pages load or reload, not to mention the savings in bandwidth. RIAs enable customization and innovative product imaging which can vastly improve complex data visualization and manipulation.

Rich Internet Applications offer businesses the opportunity to optimize IT investments while leveraging their existing ones. The integration of current IT environments and applications is made easy with the use of Web Services, XML, or SOAP.

RIAs that are designed to use a SOA middleware stack can bring many benefits to the needs of a business as it grows. The need for key business applications to scale to support future demands is vital for the growth of a business. RIAs can take advantage of a host of middleware features (e.g.; service bus, security, messaging, application server, data services, governance, etc.) that support the business applications, processes and rules, as well as the ability to scale effectively. RIAs can also take advantage of cloud middleware when the business strategy is to host specific applications in a cloud (whether public, private, or hybrid), and use a SOA framework to support them. As a result of the many benefits that Cloud Computing can provide to a business, there has been a significant increase today in these services and technologies throughout various industries.

Rich Internet Application Interfaces

When it comes to implementation, RIAs and traditional web clients are not much different, except that some activities are moved to the client from the server. Rich Internet Application integration supports cross platform clients and OS servers, along with application servers and database tools. RIA interfaces are basically individual component areas that allow for changes to be made specifically in the original application area that requested them, versus affecting the entire interface. They are also capable of inter client-side component communication and server interaction.

In an RIA model, rich user interfaces are broken down into several individual regions for the user to interact, allowing each region to communicate with the server directly, accommodate localized change, or indulge in inter client-side component communication. With a traditional model, a linear design is used, that offers a set of choices to the user that is then submitted in batch mode to the server. With RIA, “Rich” has several meanings, one of which is ‘rich in data’, and ‘rich in user interface’. Richness on the client side enables reuse of downloadable data and client side logic. There the user interface can manipulate and represent a more sophisticated data model that resides within the client to handle client-side computation, along with asynchronously receiving and sending data. Rich can also describe an extremely improved interface controls that allow for interaction with the data model.

Support for Legacy Applications

As organizations expand, they are faced with IT challenges, most of which evolve around an environment of disparate legacy systems, applications, processes, and data sources. Typically this type of environment consists of a maze of interconnections that are poorly documented and expensive to maintain. This problem can be brought about by growth, market consolidations, such as mergers and acquisitions of companies, or a few other reasons. No matter the source, these situations can increase the complexity of system integration greatly. For these businesses, growing and keeping up with the latest technology, has them searching for ways in which to utilize their existing databases and legacy applications while adding or migrating to new more friendly Internet/Intranet-based applications. Although new technologies and platforms bring new capabilities, they often return fragmented information.

Rewriting a legacy application that may run on an outdated system or even trying to add new functionality is usually time-consuming and costly. Web service architecture is an ideal technology to incorporate in this type of situation. Web Services offer a neutral platform approach for integrating applications. Integration should be about getting the most from an existing system, not developing a new one. Web Services is about integration, so by creating a Web service interface, you can enable program-to-program communication, which will allow the use of legacy data, while doing the same business in a more automated and efficient way.

Web service technology allows for services to be defined in a way in which to hide some of the complexity of the legacy application interface. Web Services can be used to integrate diverse systems, including providing support for standards rather than proprietary systems. By using standardized protocols, a Web service solution enables other applications to access legacy data, and makes integration much easier through a simple and consistent interface.

Flash Remoting

Flash remoting is an application server gateway that provides a network communication channel between Flash applications and remote services. Remote services consist of application server technologies, such as a JavaBeans, Cold Fusion component, ASP.NET page, or a web service.

When compared to traditional HTML-based browser applications, Flash applications provide unique abilities to create dynamic and sophisticated user interactions, including the following:

  • Flash Player runtime to execute code, transmit data, and invoke remote services.
  • Separation of client-side presentation logic from the server-side application logic.
  • Efficient use of bandwidth by removing the need to refresh the entire page and employing vector-based graphics.
  • Easy deployment on multiple platforms and devices, allowing for easier version updates.

While HTML has its place in the Internet world, remoting brings with it new ways in which to achieve a richer and more robust user interface that can be deployed across browsers, platforms, and devices. Flash remoting allows for flexibility in adding an application server to an RIA. A remoting gateway can translate complex data and business processes into accessible applications for a wide range of users.

Summary

A vast amount of information available at one’s fingertips is what the Internet holds, and having a way in which to acquire it with ease is the objective that we are all looking for. These days, extra time is in short supply, and finding ways in which to save time or accomplish tasks in a timely manner is a goal on most people’s minds.

Rich Internet Applications have a great deal to offer, and are an effective way in which an end-user can engage in a positive experience. An RIA is a way in which to transform the way individuals and businesses conduct transactions; they can also help to save time and money by allowing users to be more productive. RIAs not only give you a broad reach on the Web, they also include fast performance, integrated communications, along with many other desktop like features. Rich Internet Applications…they are the moving sidewalk the Information Highway of tomorrow.