I have a puzzler for crossword enthusiasts – which technology is going to win the RIA-Rich Interface Applications race ? Now I have just featured an article about Adobes Flash – and its great media compression and handling capabilities coupled with its Actionscript 3, (a JavaScript 2 superpowered edition with its powerful media objects and functions) and Flashs new surge toward RIA prominence. In addition, we have identified AJAX and JavaScript as a necessary but not sufficient enabler for RIA dominance. But take a look at this puzzle:

This a s a crossword puzzle generator which you can try out by clicking the above screenshot. Puzzle me this – what technology is behind the above screen. Or go to, a Web Gallery site, and use their very sophisticated uploader utility. Or go to ReportMill and try their web-based reportwriter. They are all using the same technology – Java Applets.

On my PC the Crossword applet appeared instantaneously and works very quickly and crisply; but I have J2SE 5 and WebStart enabled on my machine. But even in IE on a a plain vanilla Apple Mac with Safari over a dial-up connection, the start-up time was livable and the response time was very crisp.

So my next puzzler question …. is Suns Java the real deal on RIA? Java has 4-8 times the runtime performance of Flash/ActionScript or JavaScript. Java has a much more robust security sandbox than JavaScript and a better track history than Flash whose new ActionaScript 3 is still unproven. Java has a much more robust set of messaging and Web Services infrastructure than either AJAX or Flash. Finally, Java has a much better cross platform record record than AJAX (too many variants and Microsoft continues to poison the well of compatibility being derelict in IE7 and its Web apps on JavaScript, CSS, DOM, and XML iimplementations – and derelict with web standard omissions as well as proprietary extensions) and also Flash – Java simply goes to more OS and device platforms although Flash covers the main platforms very well.

I just got a royal tour of NetBeans 5.5 IDE, and let me tell you this is soups to nuts (read desktop applications, Applets, J2ME development, Java 5 EE/J2EE, Web Services [including BPEL designer]) one of the best IDEs available in the market. Its just more thoughtful and less cluttered than Eclipse from this users viewpoint. Now imagine that IDE being used as not only the write-once, use anywhere of OS platforms – but also across apps. This means the same code that is used for an desktop Application is also usable for J2ME or Web Applet – and for online or offline usage. This is the critical 6A dimensions required for RIA dominance. This is the Double Holy Grail – one codebase for any OS platform and any device. And Suns Java is just a few polishing steps away from achieving that. Hmmmm.

(c)JBSurveyer 2006
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