2008 was a big year for rich Internet applications. We saw companies like Curl and Appcelerator make big pushes into the RIA mindshare. We saw a significant release of Silverlight - a release that most people excited about Silverlight were very happy with. We saw Adobe push more with Flex and Adobe AIR and watched Sun get into the game with JavaFX. Perhaps more importantly, rich Internet applications really came out and became a mainstream part of the tech world. It's taken for granted now that people want to have great experiences and that they want those experiences to span across a number of devices. We've come a very long way in the past few years.
2009 is going to be no different. With some major players in place, both Microsoft and Adobe entrenched in the RIA game for a long time, and companies like Google working on their own version of RIA technologies, whether it's Native Client or Gears, are going to have a big impact on how people interact with the web and think of rich Internet applications. It's also going to be exciting to watch as more and more companies - small and large - start rolling out RIA-based solutions. Think about the impact RIAs have had on video - that's what I want to see happen to web applications.
I think 2009 is also going to be the year of performance. Our runtimes are going to get faster, our data is going to get bigger and companies are going to demand performance. There was already some talk of the real-time web and RIAs have a huge role to play in that. As robust client side technologies, RIAs can do things that normal web applications just can't, and as people demand more data faster, RIAs are in a great position. Just look at Curl's announcement to support AMF and you'll see evidence that the back end is becoming just as important as the front end when it comes to rich Internet applications.
I'm really looking forward to 2009 and getting back to focusing on this blog. It's been a little bit difficult not being able to write specifically about Flash and Silverlight because that's where a lot of the action is. But as RIAs have matured it has become very important to detect and discuss both the fundamentals as well as the high level concepts behind what drives RIA adoption and features in the runtimes. We're in for a big year.