Rich Internet application predictions from the experts

Earlier this month I did my 2008 predictions for rich Internet applications. My record last year wasn't as good as it could have been so I decided that this year I'd do two sets of predictions.

Earlier this month I did my 2008 predictions for rich Internet applications. My record last year wasn't as good as it could have been so I decided that this year I'd do two sets of predictions. One set are mine but the others are sets from people in the industry who know RIAs as well or better than I do. That way at the end of the year I can pick and choose to get up to a 100% success rate. Here are the predictions from a lot of smart people:

Jeffery Hammond - Forrester Research
I’m excited about the major revs we’re going to see from both Adobe with AIR and MS with Silverlight 2.0 this year. They will both up the ante for RIA development, albeit in different ways. Silverlight will give million of .NET developers a straightforward way to built cross platform RIA apps using their existing skill set, and if the early example of apps build with AIR are any indication, the traditional wall between browser and desktop will fall once and for all.

This will lead to a blending of RIA and RIW (Rich Internet Widgets) technology but create some market confusion as developers try to figure out where Yahoo Widgets and Google Desktop leaves off and AIR and Silverlight/Vista Gadgets pick up.

The battleground for RIA will also shift in intensity to the mobile Web space. A second gen iPhone with 3G, new communicators from Nokia and other devices with fully capable Web browsers will make standards-based Web development for mobile platforms compelling and put the pressure on carriers to keep up to stay compelling.

Anthony Franco - effectiveUI
Last year, the overall demand for RIAs outpaced the qualified supply chain. This trend will continue. This year, companies facing both job growth and decline will need to continue to leverage innovative, usable RIAs to hone their competitive edge to outpace their competition and improve core business practices with fast, reliable, productivity-enhancing internal and external tools. However, building and deploying effective RIAs is not something companies can jump into with blind assumptions.

Kurt Brockett - IdentityMine
Silverlight 2.0 will be the buzz in 2008 that will lead into a strong 2009. In 2008 you will continue to see Silverlight deployments mostly via Microsoft partnerships as the industry dives in once the .NET backend story is clear and tools and documentation are readily available. Much like WPF was a buzz in 2007 with greater adoption coming in 2008.

Josh Catone - Read/WriteWeb
For me, one thing that will be big this year will be offline apps (Gears, AIR, etc.). The way you get the mainstream used to the idea of RIAs is to get them hooked on Internet apps by making them more familiar and approachable -- i.e., by making them desktop apps.

Joe Johnston - AIR iPhone Creator
As many people have already stated I think this will be the year that user experience really takes off. I think companies are really starting to see that creating a unique and useful user experience really does pay off. I think that you will see a wide variety of Mobile and Embedded RIA's that will utilize some form of Flash, Flex and AIR. I also believe that someone like Adobe or Microsoft will come out with a toolkit for building multi-touch interfaces for things like Flex, Flash, AIR, Silverlight and WPF. Its gonna be a big year for touchscreen applications.

Mike Soucie - ElectricRain
I believe 2008 will be a momentum-building year for RIA technologies and adoption, setting the stage for a heated battle mainly between Microsoft and Adobe in 2009/10, each working hard to address weaknesses found in their respective tool sets. For Microsoft that means driving Silverlight plug-in adoption via content wins like the online video portal for the 2008 Olympics, and making Expression Studio more useful as a serious design suite. For Adobe, that means winning over developers with Adobe Flex Builder as a serious and deep development framework. I think two hot areas that RIA will impact and heat up in 2008 is in ‘Office Suites and Collaboration’ (Microsoft Office Live, Google Docs, Adobe Buzzword, Yahoo Zimbra, Zoho Office), as well as ‘Social Networking Applications’ and add-ons for sites such as Facebook, Bebo, Orkut).

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