Why You Should Consider Rich Internet Applications

by Simon. Average Reading Time: almost 2 minutes.

The Web has long promised to be a conduit to connect a business directly with its sales prospects, clients and partners. Yet often the Web fails to live up to its expectation due to limitations of the traditional, prohibitative HTML page-based model.

While Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) apply across a broad spectrum of industries and uses, one of their well-established merits is to allow a company to reduce the complexity that stands between where they are today with their traditional Web applications and where they want to be in the short to medium term. RIAs are consistently bringing companies closer to their vision of their application, closer to their customers, and closer to the business impact they believed the Web could actually have on their overall business model. This is expressed most clearly in what RIAs have allowed or enabled companies to do, namely provide Software as a Service (SaaS) as part and parcel of a Service Orientated Architecture (SOA).

Software as a Service

Companies have considered and are choosing RIAs because provide the following:

  1. Develop new kinds of applications with features or capabilities that would be extremely difficult or impossible for a developer to create using traditional Web technologies.
  2. Engage, guide and listen to their customers on-line more intimately or more closely to how they would do it in person to increase loyalty, improve service, deepen the customer relationship, distinguish the company, or guide product development.
  3. Create compelling, attractive and interactive Web sites using audio, video, text and graphics that generate leads, increase sales, simplify communication and create a unique online experience worth returning to.
  4. Simplify typically complex processes like registration, configuration or purchasing leading to increased leads, sales, bookings, time on the site and repeat visits.
  5. Present information to their employees, management and partners in clear, innovative, intuitive and effective ways to increase productivity, information sharing, decision-making and competitive advantage.
  6. Provide an engaging, highly interactive presentation layer to underlying Web Services.
  7. Reduce bandwidth costs associated with frequent page refresh for high traffic sites.
  8. Dramatically increase sales of their products and services through their Web channel; and
  9. Build an engaging, highly interactive Web site or application at a reduced cost compared to using alternative Web technologies.

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Future Directions for Rich Internet Applications

Rich Internet Applications are just the beginning. A key trend taking place throughout the Web industry is the urgency to integrate disparate systems and software tools to reduce costs, increase developer productivity, reduce the need for manual processing and intervention in transactions, and decrease time to market. To achieve these objectives, organisations have endorsed the adoption of standards-based systems combined with the migration to Web Services and Service Orientated Architecture. This has led to a requirement to create a consistent and intuitive interface to applications, data and services. The immediate goal of these efforts is to provide simpler, quicker and more efficient access and processing of information.

Rich Internet Applications – A Background

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) combine the best user interface functionality of desktop software applications with the broad reach and low-cost deployment of Web applications and the best of interactive, multimedia communication. The end result is an application which provides a more intuitive, responsive, and effective user experience.

The Principles of Rich Internet Applications

The day of the emasculated Web 1.0 where the client-side was functionally poor, where the user interface was akin to the days of the mainframe computer, is rapidly diminishing and the new era of the Web 2.0 has yielded a new way of thinking. The demand for web applications, particularly in the business arena, is increasing at an exponential rate as the benefits of new technologies and paradigms are comprehended by the CTOs, CIOs and decision makers. Web interfaces have significantly restricted the interactive user experiences possible on the Web, and the ability of those Web applications to present increasingly complex information to the user, to date.