Rich Internet Web Applications/Web 2.0 (Flash, Flex,Ajax)

MARS offers software solutions to build a Rich Internet Application (RIA) end-to-end, guiding you from design phase to final integration and installation.
Based on many years of experience in web frontends, we can help you select the rich web interface technology best suited for your project, as well as develop and deliver the application successfully. Keep control of your project, while we take care of the technology aspects and the development phase.

PROMISES OF RIA

RIA will not replace water pipes with electric wires. Rather, innovators discovered a way to transport electricity through water pipes. Thanks to this breakthrough discov- ery, we can now deliver very sophisticated, responsive, interactive and graphically rich applications over the web. RIA technologies are not only enriching user experiences, but also empowering businesses to reduce development time and costs, taking web development to a whole new level. The second wave of web applications is now starting to roll in. The questions companies need to ask internally is when to get on board, and how best to ride the tide

WHAT ARE RICH INTERNET APPLICATIONS?

To better understand RIA, The images above show maps of Madison, WI. If users want to move from Madison to Milwau- kee, WI, the two maps behave differently. To move locations in Yahoo! Maps, users have to click one of eight arrow buttons around the map. Every time a user clicks a button, a page is refreshed, and a new map is loaded. On Google Maps, users can navigate a map in any direction by dragging it, and the page remains in place. Until recently, the capabilities demonstrated in Google Maps were only available on desktop applications. Most browser-based web applications behave more like Yahoo! Maps by reloading a new page for every user action. To- day, both web and desktop applications are popular be- cause each has strengths and weaknesses that comple- ment each other. Browser-based web applications are often preferred for these reasons:

  • Standardized tags/scripts are easy to develop (Rapid development, low development cost)
  • No installation, updates or patches are necessary (Low delivery and maintenance costs)
  • Applications are accessible from networked com- puters (Availability, flexibility)
  • Applications can run on different operating systems (Platform independence)
  • User interface (UI) is simple and standardized (Low learning curve for end users)

" Rich Internet Applications capitalize on the strengths of both web and desktop applications. "

FIVE DRIVING FORCES OF RIA

RIAs aren't new. The first RIA term was coined by Macro- media in 2002. The idea of a "thin client" existed even before that. Then, why has RIA gained momentum re- cently? Here are five major factors:

1. Broadband

Most RIA applications require download of an initial "thin client" application. This was a huge barrier when the majority of Internet users relied on dial-up connec- tions. Broadband gets rid of this barrier and enables heavier content transports such as audio and video streaming.

2. Computing Power Shift

The difference in computing power between PCs and servers has narrowed significantly. For example, desk- tops, laptops and PDAs now offer audio, video, and color. RIAs utilize more client computing power than traditional send and receive web applications. This shift has created an ideal environment for RIA.

3. Better Response to User Actions

Today more than ever, businesses demand complex and responsive applications. For example, customer relationship marketing, enterprise resource planning, and business intelligence applications all require a very sophisticated user interface to better present information and quickly respond to user actions. It becomes ex- tremely difficult for HTML-based applications to meet these needs. Meanwhile, online advertising has become more so- phisticated. Simple graphic banners or spot ads are gradually being replaced by interactive and pro- grammed ads called "Rich Media." Some Rich Media ads can even keep track of more than 20 different user interactions.

4. Leading Tech Companies Make Their Move


Big companies have begun to realize the benefits of RIA. For example, Google Maps and Gmail leverage RIA by using a technique called "AJAX" (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). Macromedia's RIA server platform release, notably "Flex 1.5," also opened the door for many companies and developers. Microsoft's .NET Framework shares the same visions in that it pursues rich and powerful web application clients while reducing development time and cost. Open Source RIA movements are also booming. Laszlo Systems delivers the "Open Laszlo" server platform for free while Mozilla Foundation offers a proprietary RIA technology called XUL (XML User Interface Language).

5. Web Services & SOA

From a developer's perspective, the emergence of Web Services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) changed how we develop business (middleware) appli- cations. Their emergence also has strong influences on how presentation layers should be developed and com- municate with service layers. Web Services and SOA enable presentation layers to be completely independ- ent from business logic layers. Most RIA platforms are pluggable presentation layers on top of existing middle- ware, thanks to the power of Web Services and SOA. Not to mention, we cannot ignore XML, which is the foundation of not only RIA but also Web Services and SOA.