Competition is great for Rich Internet Applications

Competition is great for Rich Internet Applications

Summary: With Microsoft uncharacteristically building a cross platform solution, the RIA space is going to see an influx of competition. That competition is going to be great for developers, and I think Adobe will benefit as well.

This article at ITWeek is a very good read and points out a couple of things. One, with WPF/E, Microsoft is changing strategyies drastically. For many years they have relied on their dominance in the desktop to push their ideas and their vision for the future. With the success of web applications, the realize that their once potent OS isn't going to be able to carry them. Two, while Flash has been around for a very long time, it has gone through many identities and has never really been forced to deal with competition. Once it was simply a way to do web animations, but now it's become a way to build applications and deliver high quality multimedia. Now that Microsoft is paying attention, Flash finally has some healthy competition that will make both products better.


I think both Adobe and small development shops are going to benifit from having Mirosoft in the RIA arena. For the first time in a long time Microsoft is going to have to win with new ideas rather than just copying the status quo. While I'm sure we'll see other companies jump on the rich internet and bring cross platform solutions to market, Adobe has the biggest reach of anyone in the forseeable future. But with that reach is going to come a lot of responsibility, and Adobe can't afford to slack off.

I've already started to see more and more people take notice of how great Rich Internet Applications can be. We're still in the infancy, which means a lot more is going to be possible. Anytime you have two very smart companies competing, you're going to make a lot of progress very quickly. I think Flash is a great solution, and I hope that WPF/E keeps pushing it. I also hope companies like Google and Yahoo push Adobe to make Flash better. It will be very exciting to see how this plays out.

Topic: Software Development

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  • The Future Looks Very Promising

    I think the New York Times Reader is very important, because it means that many people can publish news in very rich electronic magazine formats, and provide much improved user experiences. E.g. Scientific American could provide a reader with an electronic magazine layout, in which articles: include drawings which animate; allow for zooming in and out; allow users to rotate 3D objects in space, etc. Users could have the option to store maybe several years of articles on their hard drives, and be able to view them offline, while having their readers continually updated when they are connected up to the Internet.

    The bottom line is that RIAs should bring an explosion of creativity to web applications, and AJAX type programming will run out of capability gas long before RIAs do.
    P. Douglas
  • Yes, MS will leverage it's desktop monopoly.

    They will make it so many Rich Internet Appications will not work if you do not use Window as a client. They will also use their desktop Monopoly to make sure that their technology is the only one installed on every new desktop. So, no, there is NOT a level playing field for Rich Internet Applications.
    • Interesting Take

      See, I think they could pull that off with software on their OS because there wasn't a viable alternative. Now we have AJAX and Flash providing very robust solutions to RIA developers.

      Perhaps more importantly, the announcement that Microsoft is going to bring WPF/E to Windows, Macs and Linux shows they know they'll be left out in the cold if they don't. Too many influential people are embracing the Mac. To me, if you're not cross platform, you don't exist. The market will follow. Thanks for reading!
  • Microsoft is a tough adversary

    Microsoft's development tools were just toys compared to what borland had to offer in the mid-90's in the area of desktop RAD tools (Delphi etc.). Through a strategy of hiring the best in the field and copying or buying good products and then improving on them, Microsoft has consistently become the leader and destroyed or marginalized its adversaries. Visual Studio is now a strong, mature product.

    SQLServer is another example of an area where MS started from way behind with a joke of a product and now has a very strong offering. Hire away the best people, copy and improve opon the best products, spare no expense.

    I think Flex is great and Apollo sounds promising but Adobe needs to move fast and take advantage of its lead.