Helping Web 2.0 grow up with RIA technology

John Pavley over at contextWeb captures some of what I think about Web 2.0 and rich Internet applications with his post on Silverlight.

John Pavley over at contextWeb captures some of what I think about Web 2.0 and rich Internet applications with his post on Silverlight. The post is a bit fanboyish (I thought the link to the Google search for "Flash development problems" was funny) but I think he's worded some of the issues with Web 2.0 and Ajax very well. One of the most controversial quotes is this one: "AJAX isn’t so much a technology as it is a collection of cleaver hacks and workarounds."

I love (most) everything about Web 2.0. I like where it's taken the web, I like the spirit of innovation and I like the leap in user interfaces. But while Ajax has done an admirable job of helping all of these things along, I don't know if it's ready to make the leap. The world is becoming richer and the next generation of RIAs technologies have the ability to create that richness.

But on the other hand there are so many things to like about Ajax. The community is fantastic. I think they're the developer equivalent of the Flash community back in the day when people were doing things with the player that no one realized were possible. They like to hack, they like to experiment and it really shows. The language is also great. It's the perfect mix of easy to learn and powerful development. I think ActionScript leans more towards the powerful development (and C# definitely does), but JavaScript is a great and easy stepping stone.

Ajax will always be a huge part of the DNA of the web, and I don't want that to change. But I'd love to see that community embrace RIAs and plugin-technologies. I think if they do that, they'll find a much more sophisticated platform that still adheres to their sense of hackery and experimentation. I think RIAs are up to the task and as they get more developer centric, I think they will be even more so. Hopefully more Ajax folks will take a look because I think the Ajax developer community and the rich design side of RIAs is a great match.

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