Sunday, February 22, 2009

RIA Wars - Game On

"Tech Titans' Web Battle" - The headline of an article by Brandon Bailey in today's Mercury proclaims as news the story I've been telling for 2 years now - The war for dominance of the next desktop is on. The big boys have realized it for a while now and the battle lines have been drawn within the new RIA platform category. The fact that this story has caught the attention of the Merc is further proof the fight is going mainstream.

Gartner's recent Market focus report on RIA and Forrester's planned wave are further evidence the market is heating up and that RIA is a legitimate category.

We are now seeing a class of applications that are going beyond the simple dynamic interactivity possible through Ajax and into complex standalone desktop applications. With the more sophisticated RIA platforms it is now possible to replace client-server applications with much lower cost web applications.

Of course the Mercury article only mentions the titan products: Adobe's Flash/AIR, Microsoft's Silverlight and Sun's JavaFX but notes:
"analysts say it's unlikely that one company will dominate this field — at least not in the near future. But the market is huge"
This leaves plenty of room for lesser known platforms like Curl's Enterprise RIA to position itself as successfully meeting the needs of enterprise class applications.

Indeed many of Curl's over 400 customers found Curl only after trying and failing with Ajax or Flash. While sites such as Google or Yahoo handle very large numbers of users, the interactivity with business-critical databases and existing legacy applications is not a requirement. Enterprise RIA focuses on Fortune 1000 companies who spent a lot of resources during the 1980’s and 1990’s building client-server applications using the rich user interface of desktop clients such as Windows.

2009 should be a defining year for RIA platforms as more and more enterprises look to replace and modernize their old client server applications with web applications.

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