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AJAX & REA: Article

Can AJAX and RIA Frameworks Help Overcome Financial Recession?

RIA Builder Saves IT Investment Greatly

Can a Good RIA Framework Overcome Financial Recession?
To overcome the financial recession, a good RIA (Rich Internet Application) framework is far from enough since Ajax experts are rare and costly to hire; moreover, it’s time-consuming to begin the project. Thus, an integrated development environment is necessary to help enterprises deliver time-to-market rich Internet application efficiently with the minimal cost. In 2009, RIA builder plays a key role on decide which RIA solution will be adopted by enterprise since it helps them save IT investment greatly.

Good RIA Framework is Far from Enough
Good RIA frameworks are far from enough to deliver Rich Internet application cost-effectively due to the following three reasons:

  • Rare Ajax Experts
    Finding an Ajax Expert is one of the major difficulties of creating rich Internet application since it requires developer to master many technologies, JavaScript, CSS, XML, HTML. Ajax experts are rare, and they are costly to hire.
  • Time Consuming to Kick-Off
    Another difficulty lies in that developers have to piece together everything, including RIA library, development tool, and project files. This is time-consuming, and is difficult for maintenance.
  • Difficult Style Customization
    It’s not easy for developers to customize the layout of rich Internet application even they have knowledge about the CSS stuff. Moreover, it’s not convenient for designers to get involved with the layout design since it lacks of a good mechanism of division of labor. Thus, it takes time for them to co-work with each other. And it increases the cost of creating Rich Internet application, too.

Why RIA Builder?
There are three major benefits of using RIA builder to create rich Internet application:

  • Low Training Cost
    RIA builder helps developers to deliver the application by drag-n-drop, and setting properties, thus, they don’t have to master the behind-the-scene technology of RIA; even ordinary developers can build the application with ease. No RIA expert is required anymore, and it saves the training cost.
  • Fast Time to Market
    It is important to response to users’ requirement quickly. RIA builder is an integrated platform that includes RIA libraries, development tool, database integration, and debugging tool. RIA builder spans the lifecycle of development, , and it helps developer shorten the development time, and saves the investment at the same time.
  • Efficient Division of Labor
    RIA builder provides an efficient way for developers and designers to co-work with each other efficiently. They can work parallel; developers are responsible for the business logic, and designer handle the task of UI design, and their works can be integrated seamlessly. RIA builder helps them save the effort of communication and the integrations.

Evaluation Criteria for Choosing RIA Builders
There are five evaluation criteria for choosing RIA Builder:

  • WYSIWYG Development
    A good RIA builder helps developers create a rich Internet application without knowing much of behind-the-scene technology of Ajax. They can build a rich application from scratch by drag-n-drop development which speeds up the UI design greatly, and those Ajax effects are default enabled.
  • Backend or Database Integration Available
    Build-in backend integration helps developer save lots of time on integrating the UI and backend services. Creating database connection, binding view and model could be done by setting properties with good RIA builder.
  • Source Editor
    Source editor helps developer promote their productivity by code-assist, auto-completion, hyperlink tracking and etc. It shortens their development time.
  • Debugging Tool
    Debugging tool helps developers find out the bug, and fix it quickly.
  • Ease of Style Customization
    GUI designer of style customization provides an easy path for designer to get more involved with the layout design directly. They can changes the layout by setting properties, and adjust the layout by drag-n-drop. Thus, developers can focus on business logic to improve their productivity.

Current RIA Builders (A Comparison Matrix)
We choose some most popular RIA builders, and evaluate them according to above criteria. They can be classified into four categories according to their support RIA technology.

  • Generic RIA Builder: Generic RIA Builders include Appcelerator, and Aptana Studio. While Appcelerator supports more languages, Aptana provide more supports for database integration.
  • Java RIA Builder: There are four Java RIA Builder, GWT Desinger, Telemon, WaveMaker, ZK Studio, all of them support WYSIWYG development, Source code editor. But only ZK Studio and WaveMaker support Style Customization, and Database integration.
  • Flex RIA Builder: Abode Flex provides a complete RIA solution which include development tool for both of developers and designers.
  • .NET RIA Builder: Microsoft Silverlight provides a complete RIA solution for .NET platform, and it also provides development tool for both of developers and designers.

RIA Builder is a MUST to Overcome Financial Recession
There are various RIA solutions, but only few of them provide an integrated development environment for both of developers and designers. To overcome the financial recession, enterprises require a cost-effective way of creating rich Internet application. RIA Builder helps enterprise to save IT investment in many ways, including low training cost, fast time-to-market delivery, and efficient division of labor. There are four categories of RIA Solutions which provide RIA Builder according their support technologies. Enterprise can choose their preferred RIA solution according to their requirements to save IT investment in 2009.

More Stories By Robbie Cheng

Robbie Cheng is an Evangelist of the ZK framework. He is the principal developer of ZK Mobile for Android and ZK Forum. He is the co-author of the book "ZK: Ajax without the Javascript Framework" and has published many articles on AJAXWorld Mgazine, TheServerSide, and Javalobby. He has also spoken at various events, Google Developer Day, Mobile Monday, and OSDC 2009.

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