Comments: are rich clients taking off or tanking?

just stumbled across your blog while looking for the O'Reilly article.

There's a Java-based alternative:


Posted by sandra at August 4, 2003 12:14 PM

I see it as more of a CFMX issue than anything else. There are a lot of CF developers like myself still waiting for 'Red Sky' before we move CFMX into production. CFCs and Flash remoting will define the RIA edge, (yes you can use those other tools) -- as Forta says for ColdFusion -- the bread and butter issues of getting data in and out of a database are what will make or break RIAs.

Posted by Kirk Mower at July 6, 2003 11:43 PM

colin, i'd be keen on hearing what your thoughts are on the direction of RIA's in regards to the comments of this discussion at oreilly.

Posted by lincoln at May 20, 2003 04:14 PM

Developers, Programmers a-like that talk against Flash... have you tried to learn Flash?
I'm not trying to flame anyone, but 9 times out of 10 those who angst Flash, couldn't honestly say they knew how to use it. Without saying program ActionScript.
I'm could not say much about VB or Java whether or not it's easier or more robust or(... blah blah blah the regular spew of technical babble) because I don't use those languages.
Also, Flash is in the homes of millions of internet users (and non) because it started as a animation program. I think MM tripped over luck when they brought Splash into they product line up.
One more thing... why do so many think it's wasteful to use animations and tweened transitions.. I think if someone has a dream or a vision for the site than go for it! More power to you.
It's simply evolution... like the movies or TV or even radio. The last time I checked movies have sound, they have color, and they have more Visual Effects Supervisors than Producers. It's what people like and what they want. Yes, I do agree some sites have just to much movement, but I'll give them benefit of it's a "work in progress".

Posted by dv8 at May 20, 2003 11:12 AM

I think flash could make leaps forward to becoming the standard presentation layer for our apps if they provided a more robust framework, including a complete set of standard UI elements. Right now, you got to buy all these seperate pieces. Flash MX should come as a complete development environment. It's the only thing in my opinion that is getting in the way of taking it to the next level beyond a cool and cute front end.

Posted by Jack Zahran at May 20, 2003 01:55 AM

PS. I ddin't mean to say that a person is a fool for thinking on the spur of the moment that "businesses don't need sound" or that "this individual applicaion doesn't need sound" only that to think such after being asked that set of questions, would seem foolish.

Posted by Cort at May 18, 2003 12:41 AM

The most telling thing here is how old the thread is. Posted in November '02, now it's the begining of Summoer '03

If "taking off", we would be using them regularly in our day to day lives now. So that's clearly not the case yet.

The capability is certainly there, but it's still not as easy to create an application in Flash as it is in Visual Basic, Delphi, Foxpro or Swing; which are the kinds of tools that it will be competing with in the realm of practicality for small dev applications (net based or otherwise).

In this space the main question to answer is "can you be just as responsive as a native app while maintaining your own local state for the general (un-restrictive) cases and without a big download?"

When Flash can match or beat those guys at ease of development, the native net advantages and media capabilities will make the situation spin on a dime. Until then, Flash RIA's will still be a niche for those who know in what cases it will work better and how to overcome the technical hurdles for those cases. A still valuable space, but a niche.

It is probably inevitable though that it will eventually beat those other guys, stuck as they are in a windows or Java 2 only, heavy download, not-designed-for-net-security (excepting java)world.

Some folk might find the Java caveats I mention here wierd but that's because folk seldom realize that you really need the mamoth Java 2 dowload in order to do sound with Java, making it a lot more similar to the native fellows than is typically thought for anything beyond pure text and image. After all, sound is a full third of a user's bandwidth in terms of "attention". And it is only a fool that retains the idea that "business programs don't need sound" once they are cofronted with the questions 1)What's a business presentation like without sound? 2)What about training? 3)What about meetings without sound? 4)Why is a phone so important then? To trap yourself without sound is like being trapped in 1950.

But it may still take quite a bit of time to match these other tools for ease of development and maturity and until it at least comes close to matching them there, Flash applications will be a valuable niche, but not the mainstream. Having said that, the first flash webmail interface and the first flash calendar planner that meets the key criteria have a big advantage over even giants like outlook.

Just my thoughts for any trivia buffs out there who might care.

Posted by Cort at May 18, 2003 12:34 AM

I think flash pages have lot of unecessary animation. Flash has been good on the advertisement side.

Posted by Shishir at May 16, 2003 09:20 PM

Flash as a RIA, something I've been pushing in the clients and companies I work for.
Points I try to make, avoiding Page Refreshes, re-usable and shared libraries, small install/plug-in, compatible cross-browser, web service connections, branding, and more end-user trusted.
.NET has the ability to do these, Java does too and etc... but can developers honestly say that the penetration surveys from MM is worthless.
Even as a Developer and computer user I try to stay away from those bloated, spying, and useless plug-ins. Flash can do it all and it's harmless (not intended on eating my words... I'm aware of possibilities of malicious code, but that's unavoidable)

Posted by John Giotta at May 15, 2003 05:16 PM

Fantastic discussion. In the end, it seems to me that the summation of thought is that RIA dev is at a transition point, a critical one at that, a change of the baton, if you will from the flopped promise of Java to the hands of Flash(and flash's extended community of products). What seems to be driving this is that there seems to be this all-encompassing vision of what the web should be and what it should offer: An almost ‘cinematic’ or emotional bond with the visual and the semantic of the data architecture (smarter apps) to create a more engaging ‘experience’. Flash seems to fulfill that in some regards.

I was pleased to hear how strongly Tim pushed flash as the forerunner of RIA's(my words, not his). They are difficult to create and require a talented team, but they are more possible than ever and go a long way to fulfill what we've all sort of come to hope the web could be. Those who sort of 'blew off' flash in the article seemed to only have this antiquated bird's eye view of flash and don't understand the realization of its potential, as seen in many web apps already. They seem not to have their hands in it (but perhaps they do in other arena's?) and you can tell from their statements.

Ultimately, what I gather from the article backs up my own belief that there is still a lot of promise to deliver what could only once have been delivered in the imagination. However, factors of economy and tech limitations (ie. some major company's still only use Flash4!) will be the most critical factor towards the future of RIA's. Studio MX seems to be the more advanced step forward to providing the tools to innovative creators of today.

The article hardly touches on aspects of ‘off the web’ RIA’s, but I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring in this dev field.

Posted by lincoln at May 15, 2003 02:24 PM

I think Macromedia has made many positive steps towards Flash becoming a platform for RIA, rather than just an animation tool. At the same time, I think its heritage in animation is what makes it such a great engine for such applications. That might be the reason, too, why Flash could succeed where Java really hasn't. The web is the marriage of design and programming. Flash is really the first development tool to cater effectively to both.

Posted by Todd Morey at May 15, 2003 01:19 PM

I am encountering more and more persons desirous of content "data rich" sites. The graphics and animations are not cosidered essential. I guess this explains the ever increasing numbers of followers raving about the "data rich"

Posted by Scott Silverstine at May 15, 2003 01:00 PM