Rich Internet Application (RIA) Alternatives

Rich Internet Application (RIA) Alternatives

What do open source, Java, Adobe and Microsoft have to offer to build faster, engaging and more interactive Internet applications ?

24 September 2008 (14 - 21 h)
Location: Pullman Diegem (Diegem)
Presented in English by
Price: 540 EUR (excl. 21% VAT)

This event is history, please check out the List of Upcoming Seminars, or send us an email

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 Learning Objectives

Why this seminar ?

Traditional HTML-based Web applications have the disadvantage that all interactions with the application must pass through the server, and this limits them in interactivity, responsiveness, usability and flexibility. By using client-side technology, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) can have nearly all the features and functionality of traditional desktop applications:

  • They can have a rich user interface, including advanced widgets such as sliders and in-line editors, and advanced features such as drag-and-drop, client-side error-checking and calculations.
  • They can also be more responsive because they don't have to interact as much with the remote Web server as traditional Web applications, leading to bandwith reduction and higher network efficiency.
  • Furthermore, they allow asynchronous communication, e.g. for pre-fetching data that will probably be needed by the application, and there are tools appearing that allow off-line use of applications.

Of course, the new way of working has some limitations and drawbacks: not all browsers and client machines are created equal, so performance and functionality may depend on the actual client-side configuration. Also, you are more dependent on having a reliable Internet connection, and application development for RIA is somewhat harder than traditional Web development. But the major vendors are improving their Web application development tools all the time, and this seminar will show you an up-to-date status of the tools market for RIA.

The arrival of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) gave Web developers the possibility to exchange data between client and server via XML messages without refreshing the browser page. AJAX was a big step forward, but it was just the beginning. In order to build large applications using AJAX, to solve browser compatibility problems and to make the development process easier, several open source and commercial frameworks have been developed. All the major vendors such as Microsoft (with Silverlight), Adobe (with Flex and AIR), Sun Microsystems (with JavaFX), Google (with GWT en Gears), as well as many open source companies are offering solutions today that make the development of Rich Internet Applications as easy as possible. During this seminar, you will be able to get a feeling of what is possible with these tools, and how they compare.

Which questions does this seminar try to answer ?

  • What are Rich Internet Applications, and what can you do (and not do) with them ?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of AJAX and RIA ?
  • What about development productivity and code maintenance ?
  • What about usability: is the new RIA paradigm good for usability and accessibility, or is it too confusing ?
  • How does RIA compare to Adobe Flash ? What are the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches ?
  • What do Microsoft, Adobe, Sun, Google and others have to offer ?
  • How do you create Rich User Experiences ?
  • What are the pitfalls of RIA ?
  • Which skills are required ?
  • How can you embrace RIA in your longer-term application delivery strategy and IT architecture ?
  • Is RIA ready, useful and mature enough for the Web applications in your company ? What are the benefits and the risks of implementing RIA ?

Who should attend this seminar ?

This seminar is mainly aimed at IT decision makers and project managers that want to:

  • decide if AJAX and RIA is suitable for their Web development projects
  • compare and choose a RIA development toolset
  • build "occasionally connected" Web applications

You will get a lot of no-nonsense advice on the technologies and tools, spiced up with demonstrations.

 Full Programme

13h30 - 14h00
Registration with coffee/tea and croissants
14h00 - 14h45
Introduction to Rich Internet Applications (RIA)
(Stephan Janssen)
  • What is RIA ?
    • Examples of Rich Internet Applications
    • Definition and expectations
    • Business drivers for RIA
    • Typical features
    • Advantages and disadvantages
    • Rich Web Applications
    • Rich Desktop Applications
14h40 - 15h10
RIA Communication
  • How does it work ?
  • Technologies and standards
  • Protocols
  • Formats
15h10 - 15h40
Server-side RIA support
  • Architecture choices
  • REST to the rescue
15h40 - 16h00

Throughout the seminar, the community site will be used to illustrate the features of the various RIA frameworks and how they are used in real-life development. Stephan Janssen will explain the goals of this project and how he intends to use the newest Web 2.0 and RIA ideas into his brainchild, which contains lots of recorded videos of technical presentations on a wide variety of topics.

16h00 - 16h20
Coffee/Tea break with refreshments
16h20 - 17h00
  • Introduction
  • Prototype
  • Dojo
  • Google Web Toolkit (GWT)
  • Mozilla Prism
  • Other
  • Using AJAX and Flash to build the original version of
17h00 - 17h40
Microsoft Silverlight

Silverlight is Microsoft's solution to bring rich interactive applications to the Web. Silverlight allows developers and graphics designers to build rich, eye-catching interactive applications for the .NET platform that can be experienced cross-browser and cross-platform.

  • Introduction to this technology
  • Most important features, underlying programming model, tools support, ...
  • A Silverlight version of
17h40 - 19h00
19h00 - 19h40

JavaFX is a new technology from SUN based on the Java platform, designed to enable consistent user experiences on desktop, mobile, TV, and other consumer platforms.

  • Introduction
  • Most important features
  • using JavaFX
19h40 - 20h20
Adobe Flex and Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
  • Introduction
  • Flex
  • AIR
  • using Flex and AIR
20h20 - 20h45
A Comparison of RIA Technologies
(Stephan Janssen)
  • When do you need such a RIA: use cases and typical architectures
  • The problem of "occasionally connected" clients and how RIA solves this
  • Does RIA solve the multi-channel application development problem ?
  • Performance issues
  • How about security ?
  • Migrating from your current application development toolset to a RIA solution
  • When to choose what RIA solution ?
Conclusions and Summary
End of this seminar


Dolmen - Java Competence Center

Stephan Janssen has been using Java since its early releases in 1995 with experience of developing and implementing real world Java solutions in the finance and manufacturing industries. In 1998 he founded JCS Int. a Sun authorized Java Center with an exclusive focus on J2ME, J2SE and J2EE since 1997. JCS is also the very first Belgian Java company to speak at JavaOne 2003.

He is also the founder and chairman of the Belgian Java User Group since 1996 and has been organising JavaPolis in Belgium since 2002.

Stephan was selected by BEA Systems as the first European (independant) BEA Technical Director and was recognized by the Server Side as one of the 54 Who is Who in Enterprise Java 2004. In 2005 Sun recognized Stephan's efforts for the Java Community and engaged him in the Java Champion project.

He has spoken at numerous Java and JUG conferences including Java '98 (UK), JAOO '99 (Denmark), JavaDays 2000 (Norway), TMAB (Belgium), JavaPolis 2002-04-05, JavaOne 2003 etc.

Questions about this ? Interested but you can't attend ? Send us an email !