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Really Idiotic Acronyms: RIA Approaches

Posted by robogeek on September 14, 2007 at 10:57 AM PDT

I came across this article by Chris Keene: Really Idiotic Approaches to RIA: Flex, Silverlight and JavaFX .. in which he describes Adobe's FLEX, Microsoft's Silverlight, and Sun's JavaFX as an idiotic timewarp approach to developing Rich Internet Applications. Hmm...

I've been wondering myself somethings about the growth in complexity that browser-based applications offer. Clearly this represents a competitive challenge to some organizations who have been offering certain ways of developing applications. And that offers one way to interpret the Flex/Silverlight/JavaFX movement which this guy is criticizing. That we are each seeing the javascript writing on the wall and trying to aim towards having a continued role in the world.

But I think that's not the entire story. Why should the browser be the king of the world? Why should the browser be the only application someone runs in order to do their work and run applications? Why should the browser be the only way to deliver a rich internet application? And for that matter what does "RIA" mean as an acronym anyway?

For example all desktop GUI application frameworks from Win32/MFC to GTK to Java etc have for ages been able to query for data from over the Internet and could integrate that data into an application. e.g. I use blogbridge as my RSS aggregator and much prefer that it's a desktop application than a web application. Why should it be expected that only a browser can implement a "rich" client that integrates Internet information into a "rich" GUI experience?

What's so special about browsers and Javascript?

Javascript is one language among many.. it implements one programming paradigm which may or may not be a good way to develop applications. Why should the javascript programmers be the only ones who get to play in this field? Oh, and if you want to write javascript programs, there's support for that in Sun's JRE.

In a way, the development of JavaFX or Flex or Silverlight should be seen as a good thing. It represents a broad range of choice, rather than the lockhold of the only way to develop a "rich" application is javascript in a browser.

P.S. I've been a good boy this whole blog posting and wrote Silverlight rather than Silverfish.

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