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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and Use of Adobe Flex in creating RIA

Rich Internet applications (RIAs) offer a rich, engaging experience that improves user satisfaction and increases productivity. Using the broad reach of the Internet, RIAs can be deployed across browsers and desktops. It enables a new class of applications that combines the responsiveness and interactivity of desktop applications with the broad reach and ease of distribution of the web. RIAs can yield increased return on investment (ROI) by providing simple means and improving the user interaction-enabling users to find information more easily, complete tasks quickly and accurately, and use rich data visualization to make better presentations as well as improved decisions.

Basically RIA is a technology that caters to following two need of the hour:
• A new class of client runtime that can support the range of needs inherent in rich Internet business applications
• Tools and technology that can provide a productive environment for building, maintaining, and managing these applications throughout their lifecycle

As mentioned by Adobe Official Website, RIAs offer organizations a proven, cost-effective way to deliver modern applications with real business benefits:
• Offer users a richer, more engaging experience.
• Keep pace with users' rising expectations.
• Increase customer loyalty and generate higher profits.
• Leverage existing personnel, processes, and infrastructure.

It is very important to note that business executives increasingly recognize the value customer engagement brings to their businesses. For example, in a recent study on engagement conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Adobe, 80% of executives said that better engagement translates into improved customer loyalty, and 75% said they believed it meant higher profits. In March 2007, Forrester Research published "The Business Case for Rich Internet Applications," a report based on interviews with RIA technology providers and designers, as well as Forrester Research clients and customers. The report revealed that "well-designed RIAs can produce eye-popping results that can help prove the value of current investments and make the case for future RIA projects."

The first point before adopting RIA is to identify which technology is best. Undoubtedly, a unanimous choice would be Adobe products and framework. This becomes so easy choice because of primarily two reasons:
1) Usefullness and effectiveness
2) Less effort to adopt and build applications
3) Beautiful animation and visual appeal
4) Prominence of Flash Run Time Environment over computers worldwide.

If I try to analyze the fourth point in a better way, I would conclude that building RIAs with Adobe technologies offers additional benefits. Adobe's clients have a long history of delivering consistent, cross-platform experiences. The Adobe® Flash® Player runtime reaches 98% of Internet-enabled desktops and more than 450 million devices, offering businesses greater reach than with any other client technology available. Adobe AIR™, the latest client from Adobe, leverages the power of Flash Player while adding the capability to deploy RIAs directly to the desktop.
Finally, since Adobe technologies enable designers and developers to build RIAs with their current tools and skills, businesses can leverage existing personnel and assets to enhance customer engagement while minimizing expense.

Flex is a standard-based programming model for high performance rich internet applications. Flex application will take advantage of adobe flash player 9, 10 et. Al. and this will enable developer to extend the capabilities enables the client with richer applications in real time. Technically, the Flex framework represents the presentation tire in multitier architecture applications and will be easy integrated with server-side functionality. If you want to create flex application then, you will start this application on Flex builder, which is IDE with visual layout, debugging, skinning, coder hinting and styling for developing rich Internet applications. In my opinion, the biggest advantages of using the Flash player as a runtime for your RIA as opposed to using AJAX: Firstly, the Write once, deploy cross platform capability. Secondly, You can turn your Flex application into a desktop application without much changes. So that means switching your application from Web based to Desktop and Vice versa is so easy in Flex. Thirdly, you can build UI's that look and feel the way you want them to, and not forced into having limitations by your development technology. Fourth, Flex provides many many tools, data grids, containers, components, 3d integration etc. Fifth ActioScript 3.0 provides you endless features and capabilities. And lastly, you can run Flex based Flash swf files even with PHP, Java or And in addition, there are many other benefits that compel anyone to learn, try and use Flex.

So wish you all great applications to come up from Adobe flex. Rich Internet Applications have started blooming and I can only see them in coming future. A long time to reign for RIAs particularly Adobe Flex and AS 3.0. (IMO (, in my opinion) ;) )

Happy Flexing!!!
Mohd Anwar Jamal Faiz
View ToughJamy : An Informal Me!!
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