10 Predictions for Rich Internet Applications in 2007

10 Predictions for Rich Internet Applications in 2007

Summary: The run down of 10 predictions for Rich Internet Applications in 2007 covering everything from Apollo and Apple to Vista and WPF/E. It's going to be one heck of a year.


2007 is going to be a huge year for Rich Internet Applications. Rich media is going to be in high demand and companies are going to see the economic benefits of building richer experiences than traditional web experiences allow. The explosion of video and multimedia on the web will continue to push the limits of browser based applications until people realize linking the web and the desktop can give them more control over data and experiences. RSS and Microformats will help developers abstract the important data from the web and give them the freedom to build RIAs that are just as useful as web applications but more robust and more in tune with how people use their computers.

With that backdrop I've written 10 predictions for Rich Internet Applications in the year 2007. I'm already cringing about revisiting these next year, but if year end predictions aren't for looking back at how silly you were, then what are they for? With that in mind, I give you my 10 predictions for RIAs in 2007.

1. Vista is going to raise the bar for experiences across the board. When Vista goes out to regular consumers in January it's going to set a new level for what they expect their applications to be. The subtleties of the UI and overall focus on a better experience is going to affect how those consumers see the web. When you think about the kind of applications that will be built for Vista using Windows Presentation Foundation, an even higher level if rich interactivity and media integration is going to be expected by Joe user.

2. Adobe's Apollo is going to be much better than expected. There is a lot of buzz about Adobe's Apollo project but by the end of 2007 Apollo will have changed the way people think about software from the install to the online/offline connectivity. Developers will flock to a platform that allows them to build desktop applications with web technologies and penetration of the runtime will be at 65% by the end of the year. This is going to be fed by big companies (like eBay) as well as small companies who look towards Apollo to allow them to bridge the web-desktop gap.

3. Microsoft is going to make inroads into the design market. Expression Studio and the way it works with Visual Studio is going to turn heads in the development shops that are looking to build Rich Internet Application solutions. Adobe will remain the dominant player in the space, but the Expression Studio tools will be taken up by more than just .NET developers who need to make pretty applications (see 1). We'll see this tool in design shops.

4. The Designer/Developer workflow will get some mainstream press. Along with number three, I think the designer/developer workflow is going to become much more important in the overall conversation. Guys like Dave Sheaand Shaun Inman are going to be talking about applying design techniques to these new Rich Internet Applications and developers are going to be looking for easy ways to integrate design into their workflows.

5. Apple is going to make a play in Rich Internet Applications I mentioned this in a post earlier this month and it ended up that a lot of my facts were incorrect. But that aside, I think Apple is going to make an RIA splash. QuickTime is too widespread and in many ways too powerful for them not to think about giving developers access to it as a platform.

6. Competition for technology in the online video space will heat up. Flash has been the runaway winner in the online video space primarily because it's everywhere and it's easy to use. WPF/E is going to start giving Flash video a run for its money as a delivery mechanism for video on the web. By the end of the year Flash video will continue to be considered the standard, but WPF/E will have taken some marketshare and a lot of video sites will offer a Flash version and a WPF/E version of their videos.

7. Flex becomes the primary technology for building Rich Internet Applications. A pretty bold statement, but Flex has a huge head start and new applications are showing up every day. A large number of developers are going to look at breaking free from the browser and leveraging the Flash platform to do it. Flex is going to give them a development model they can grasp very quickly and build powerful applications for both the web and the desktop via Apollo. Flex also lends itself very well to building widgets, which will draw more developers into the fold.

8. "WPF/E" will have a higher penetration than Apollo. "WPF/E" is going to appeal to current Ajax developers that want to add more richness and interactivity to their web applications. The horror of adopting a proprietary technology will give way to the desire to take those JavaScript skills and leverage them to build great experiences. Apollo is going to make huge waves (see item 2) but Microsoft will be able to get "WPF/E" on to more computers and the Ajax developers who aren't quite ready to make the jump to the desktop will look at "WPF/E" as a solution to their increasingly inadequate web applications.

9. The Mozilla platform and Apollo will fight for the cutting edge Ajax developers. As RIAs become more in demand, the people that have invested time and money in JavaScript will look at solutions that allow them to use the skills they have. The Mozilla platform has the tradition, the "street cred" and a powerful way to build Uis with XUL. Apollo will give Ajax developers a richer environment to develop in and the ability to incorporate Flash into their applications. Eventually Apollo is going to win out as the restrictions of the browser (even Mozilla's souped up version of it) prove to be too limiting and the draw of rich media makes Ajax/Flash an appealing option.

10. OpenLaszlo is going to be a beacon for open source developers looking to build Rich Internet Applications. OpenLaszlo is in a unique position because they are planning to support a wide variety of RIA options with little or no changes to the underlying code. In a sense this makes them a mile wide but an inch deep. However they continue to garner buzz from the open source world and with the release of "Legals" in 2007, Ajax developers who want to dabble in richer forms of application development will begin by building OpenLaszlo applications and deploying them on multiple runtimes.

Topic: Software Development

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  • JFC/Swing/SWT

    I am surprised to see that you didn't include Java...
    • RE: JFC/Swing/SWT

      I thought about it. I really want to watch Java, and especially how Eclipse evolves, but I don't know enough about it to make a prediction (as if my other predictions are going to be worth anything in a year).
      • RE: JFC/Swing/SWT

        I am not sure, how you included WPF/E. I think it?s very premature technology
      • Are you kidding me??

        You have WPF on this list...which is very new, raw and who knows what form it will finally take. And you skip Java because you "don't know enough about it"?? It has been around for years now, in production use...how can you not know enough about it?

        Are we supposed to have confidence in anything you "analysts" write, when you "don't know enough" about widely used tech that has been around for 10 years, but are all bullish on stuff that is barely developed, much less widely available, much less widely used???

        [shaking head in disbelief...]
        • Java had it's chance and blew it!

          Swing, SWT is just starting getting around to doing good windows apps easy, so now we are suppose to believe it's going to make a difference for RIA in 2007. I thought u java snobs got over yourselves and grew up.

          Where is java UI tech that could at least match WPF or Apollo?

          You also say things about WPF that are completely false. For one WPF has already been released and will not be changing until the next version. Although it is true that it is not widely available, it will be available as a part of Vista and is downloadable.

          WPF/E is still in beta but offers something MS has not made widely available to its dev community; the ability to build cross platform apps.
    • With the latest versions, it could see a comeback

      The latest versions have been getting much faster - the biggest complaint is going away. I think it's possible Java could see a comeback.
  • Written by MS PR firm?

    This reads like a MSFT PR press hit. Just like every other trend in the last 10 years, MSFT is behind the curve. Apple and Adobe are eating their lunch and MSFT will come back with the Zune of web media.

    And it completely ignores OSS inroads into rich media. If people are making money for this level of analysis, I'm in the wrong end of the business.
    • No, written with realilty in mind

      Just because you don't like the answer doesn't make the presenter wrong.
      Get over yourself. MS has dominated the computer industry for a long time and will continue to, regardless of uninformed folks such as yourself constantly spouting that they are on their last breath, or Apple will take over, or this truly is the year of the Linux desktop.
      If you have anything to do with computers, quit. You are in the wrong business. Sticking your head in the sand is dangerous for anyone willing to hire you.
      • RE: No, written with realilty in mind

        I don't get what it is with people thinking Microsoft is down and out. Are they behind? Yes, I think they are, but the things I've seen coming out of Redmond are pretty cool and there are still a whole lot of Windows machines in the world. Thanks for the backup :)
    • Go back to your cubical in the basement

      What an ass...

      Sorry bout than Ryan it was meant for this guy!
      • RE: Go back to your cubical in the basement

        Heh - no problem :)
        • Not meant for you Ryan

          I was commenting on the MS PR firm guys, I have a lot of respect for your wriiting.

          Please keep it up.
    • RE: Written by MS PR firm?

      I thought I made it clear that I'm a big fan of both Adobe and Apple. What OSS rich media solutions are you referring to that I missed?
      • OSS

        Maybe he works for Scala..
    • not in agreement

      First of all, his blog is a predictions thing. Predictions can be right or wrong, all this is a look a "possible" trends. You might think he is on the PR wagon but everything he mentions here points to facts in evidence. If you haven't seen or looked at the WPF and WPFE applications people are putting out then you are going to get a huge shock coming to you.

      I have always known never to "under-estimate" Microsoft because when they do get things right they are usually 100% on the money. I think the "Zune of Web Media" might not be the right word for it, but I do believe that Adobe will not take what Microsoft has came up lightly. Honestly I wish they'd make nice and embrace it more, as both friendly competition and serious reason for them to up their software's actual features and functionality..

      If you want to ignore the WPF and WPFE stuff go ahead, but I think the realization of what they have accomplished with it will hit you sooner than later.. Especially with all this cool stuff already hitting..
  • Message has been deleted.

  • Apollo adoption...

    Hey Ryan,

    How do you know: "Developers will flock to a platform that allows them to build desktop applications with web technologies and penetration of the runtime will be at 65% by the end of the year."? 65% seems quite high.

    My other query is in regards to WPF vs Apollo...but I guess that's a safer prediction giving the OS install rates.


  • WPF/e

    Nice article, very interesting. I for one don't think you overestimate WPF/e, it is going to be huge.
  • You missed Desktop Linux

    2007 is going to be the year of Desktop Linux !
    • Yeah! And the year that MSFT bites the dust! ;)

      I love these predictions. Same one's every year...wait a sec...