Rich Internet Applications (RIA) include certain web-based applications that exhibit some (or all) characteristics of graphical desktop applications. They are built with some of the most powerful development tools, offer a better and more engaging interface, and operate faster. Compared to traditional browser applications that run on HTTP and HTML, RIA offers a better visual experience for the user.
In the early days, most of the users relied on text-based email messages for communication purposes. With the advent of the World Wide Web and HTML, interactive graphics became popular and organizations hired specialists to graphically enhance their websites to improve the browser’s experience.
With the help of RIA, developers can now create a variety of complex application screens with limitless tools and innovation. Here’s a look at some of the key features of RIA:
In any traditional webpage, there are limited options for interactions. These include standard controls, such as radio buttons and checkboxes. This restricts the creation of engaging and usable applications. RIA offers a wide range of control options that enhance user experience. These include drag-and-drop tools and map/image editor.
RIA can easily change pages and parts of pages without reloading. This allows the users to provide fast and more accurate feedback. It also paves way for real-time action and choices confirmation and more detailed and informative error messages.
A standard HTML webpage can only be loaded once. This means that if you update something on the webpage, the change must be submitted to the server which then makes the necessary changes and resends the entire page revised. There is no other way to update an HTML or HTTP page.
In contrast, RIA incorporates a number of additional technologies. These include high-performance client-based virtual machines, real-time streaming and local caching tools. These increase the overall responsiveness of the page and reduce the lagging time.
The defining characteristic of all RIAs is that they can still be accessed and used even if the internet is not working. The application is able to retain its original or edited state on the client’s machine. Some traditional web applications also offer offline accessibility, but all RIAs contain the same feature.
When using RIA tools, the user experience and interface with different operating systems and browsers can be made consistent and can be easily controlled. This ensures a consistent look and feel for all web pages.
Impact on Performance
Depending on the individual network characteristics and the application used, RIAs tend to perform much better than traditional apps. RIAs do not require round trips to the main server and can be easily managed and processed locally at faster speeds. Similarly, offloading the processing to client machines can also help improve the overall server performance.
On a flipside, some embedded and mobile devices may not have the necessary capabilities to process and use such applications. To learn more about RIAs and how they can vastly improve your business performance and enhance your customers experience, please feel free to call us at Synthesis today!