A blur between applications & content… really?

Am I the only one that’s wary of the theory that there is a so-called ‘blur between applications and content’ in the new world of Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and web 2.0 technologies?

Am I the only one that’s wary of the theory that there is a so-called ‘blur between applications and content’ in the new world of Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and web 2.0 technologies? The argument goes: interactive web 2.0 technology coupled with explosive rich media content is bringing everything closer together and this is a justification for greater use of application management and delivery software.

Blur' Picture: EMI records

Yes application delivery is of paramount importance, especially with regard to web 2.0 and RIAs – but a clearly defined line still exists between apps and content… doesn’t it?

So, some vendors are trying to tell us that – hey, web application delivery is so complex that our integrated solutions can look after the application itself and all the yummy add ons like performance, scalability and security. Oh, hey – and cloud computing is around the next bend too and that’ll make things even more complex.

The raison d’etre for my ruminations are that I read comments this week related to the above by Citrix. A company that takes pride in saying that it is focused on the ‘first mile of computing’ i.e. the mile between the user’s computer screen and the door of the data centre. So I guess naturally they would like to suggest that there is greater proximity between applications and content.

The company just entered an agreement with Akamai (a web application acceleration and performance management player) to promote a new offering in this space.

With regard to the new announcement, Citrix president Mark Templeton (actually I’ve met him, he’s an open and up front decent sort of bloke) is quoted as saying, “Optimisation of the user experience will happen in the data centre, at the edge of the network and in the Internet cloud, allowing IT to deliver any application to any user with the best performance, security and cost savings possible.”

So that’s the other end of the mile isn’t it? That’s the mile furthest away from the user’s screen surely?

So is a blur occurring or not? Are they focused on the first mile or the last mile?

I spoke to a couple of independent developers about this issue this week and they both said things to suggest that Citrix might be scaremongering and trying to make it sound like traditional application development techniques are too dangerous for the new world of web 2.0 and RIA computing. In fact, some argue that the opposite is true and that development within J2EE or .NET environments (not to mention the new tools in the web services realm) makes things, if anything, easier.

I think I see two different messages here and I would certainly be sceptical about a company saying that applications and content are blurring. Anyway, a happy Memorial Day weekend to all.