Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: Adobe Flex

Adobe Flex: Article

AJAX World - The Rise of RIAs and Reshaping User Expectations

Today's online experiences often fall short of user expectations

Today's online experiences often fall short of user expectations. For many consumers and business users, it is no longer enough to simply interact with static pages of information. Instead, a growing number of users want Web applications that deliver the responsiveness, performance, rich media and interactivity typically found in desktop applications.

The shortcomings of today's online experiences lie in how traditional Web browsers function. Built on an early paradigm - the request/response page metaphor - Web browsers include forward buttons, back buttons, and stateless communication protocols that fail to retain input once users leave a screen. The reality is that much of the demand and potential for Web services today has outgrown the capabilities of existing browsers and applications.

The rise of rich Internet applications (RIAs), a term Macromedia coined in 2002 with the release of Flash MX and Flash Player 6, is a response to changing business requirements and to the frustrations that developers and end users have with traditional Web applications. RIAs combine the rich interaction of desktop applications with the development and deployment model of the Web. Supporting real-time interactions and an intuitive user interface, RIAs make user experiences more engaging and meaningful. Users can interact directly with Web services, access and analyze data, and take advantage of functions like dynamic charting and drag-and-drop for richer, more streamlined interactions.

The Benefits of Thick and Thin
Adoption of RIAs is well underway. Industry leaders like Google and others are transforming Web applications to offer engaging experiences devoid of tedious "click-wait-reload" processes long familiar to Web users. Companies are also realizing RIA advantages in-house, creating business dashboards for managers to drill down, analyze, and report on critical sales and customer data in real time. Given the power and potential of RIAs, it's not surprising that the Gartner Group predicts by 2010 that at least 60 percent of new application development will include RIA technology.

In many ways, the growing acceptance of RIAs is a natural progression of the Web. For years, HTML fulfilled its duty by delivering static content to users requesting information. People were excited by the ease of accessing information and simply accepted limited interaction, presentation, and printing capabilities as the way of the Internet.

The restrictions of HTML, however, became more apparent as Web developers wanted to emulate the richness of desktop applications. RIAs offered a viable option, with applications that can harness the local processing power of desktop hardware and systems, which reduces server loads and also provides better user experiences.

Equally important, RIAs address the need to provide more compelling and productive end-user interactions that go beyond the capabilities of traditional Web applications. Improved responsiveness, the ability to work with large or complex data sets, the flexibility to manipulate screen views, and other routine functions - all common and popular in desktop applications - are prompting IT groups to look to RIAs.

A Maturing RIA Market
RIAs are ideal for IT managers who want to capitalize on the reach of the Internet and the benefits of Web deployment, without sacrificing application richness and interactivity. The applications can be developed and maintained at a fraction of the costs compared to creating and managing desktop applications. IT staff appreciate the cost-effective development, deployment, and maintenance of applications, while end users enjoy easy access to interactive and powerful tools.

RIA development options are keeping pace with increasing business demand for the applications. For instance, AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) describes an RIA development model using existing Web technologies, including HTML, XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, and XML. The intent of AJAX is to increase Web page usability, interactivity, and application speed for the end user by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire Web page doesn't need reloading each time the user interacts with the page.

The popularity of AJAX is a clear sign that the market needs RIAs. Part of the appeal of AJAX is that it overcomes some of the limitations that developers encountered using only HTML. AJAX is one approach for building RIAs but it has its own boundaries as well. While the Web programming is great, AJAX lacks the ability to provide application or UI constructs to build more dynamic and flexible RIAs that end users will demand.

Enhanced Engagement, Better Performance
What are developers' options when they need levels of functionality beyond HTML, JavaScript, and AJAX?

There are several solutions for building Web-based RIAs - some leverage existing Web design patterns while others introduce new ones. IBM and Sun offer a variety of solutions, ranging from RIA development frameworks and runtimes to components that bring rich Internet capabilities to existing Web applications. Microsoft too is introducing an additional programming model for desktop developers to build RIAs.

Adobe's RIA tools, such as Adobe Flex, allow Web developers to build compelling RIAs for the Web or desktop using technologies and design patterns already familiar to Web developers. Adobe Flex provides a programming model for building RIAs for both the browser and the desktop. RIAs built with Flex also leverage an enterprise-class runtime based on Adobe Flash Player, so end users can easily manipulate data and blend audio and video on any device at anytime. Achieving similar capabilities in a traditional HTML environment would be cost-prohibitive and time-consuming for developers.

With Adobe Flex, developers can take advantage of server-side data management services and data channels for enterprise integration. Enhanced data services in Flex 2 benefit applications requiring high-performance data transfer, real-time data streaming, message-based publish and subscribe, transparent cross-tier data synchronization, automated paging of large data sets, and occasionally connected applications. The dynamic data services simplify the move of Web services from static, request-response modes to dynamic "push" models.

Flex is built on J2EE as a plug-in to the Eclipse Development Environment. The data that RIA developers need to access is often stored in databases that are connected to J2EE servers. Flex 2 data services makes it easy for developers to connect RIAs to a J2EE database, such as a Salesforce automation or CRM system, through Web services and implement a rich, interface so users can more easily engage with vital enterprise information.

RIAs developed in Flex currently support a wide range of essential business and end-user applications, from guiding call center representatives through service calls to providing customers with real-time, online support using video, chat, and co-browsing help. With RIAs, insurance companies can link multiple systems to handle new account enrollment via an intuitive UI, while banks can streamline complex, multi-step workflows for mortgage application processing.

Overcoming Browser Limitations
As is evidenced by the tools available today, developers can continue to push the boundaries of RIAs, getting closer to desktop functionality to provide more expressive, immersive experiences. Users can enjoy offline or online interactions with applications, but also readily engage with rich media that includes integrated and seamless multimedia content.

To deliver on the full promise of RIAs, Adobe is providing capabilities that allow developers to easily combine the richness and power of desktop applications with the development and deployment model of the Web. Adobe's Apollo project is a new cross-OS, cross-device application runtime that will extend the reach of RIAs to the desktop. With Apollo, Web developers will be able to leverage their existing skills in HTML, XML, JavaScript, AJAX, Flash, or Flex to build RIAs that break free of browser and platform constraints, allowing them to run on the desktop.


More Stories By Luis Polanco

Luis Polanco is senior product manager, Platform Business Unit, Adobe Systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.