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My Appearance in the "RIA Shootout" on SYS-CON.TV

I found the entire event to be surreal, like an out of body experience. I'd never been in a make-up chair before!

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Hopefully you saw me during the RIA Shootout that was held live yesterday from the Times Square TV Studio in the Reuters building. The panel discussion was all about RIAs, the future of RIAs, AJAX, where it's all headed and what the landscape looks like. In attendance were Java folks, a representative from Adobe who works in the Flex division, an open source advocate, Coach Wei (the founder of the OpenAJAX alliance and CTO/Founder of Nexaweb), and Roger Strukhoff, SYS-CON Publisher, who hosted and moderated the event. Oh, and me. I was there too :)

I found the entire event to be surreal, like an out of body experience. I'd never been in a make-up chair before, and I'm really an "in the trenches" kind of developer - I've never much aspired to be on TV, but I also won't turn down the chance to discuss things that I am passionate about with other like-minded and extremely intelligent people. However, it was a bit humbling when they had to use a little bit extra make-up on my head to make sure the shine from my baldness didn't interfere with the camera :)

We talked about AJAX and the general consensus among the panelists was that AJAX as a word is overused and overhyped. There are varying degrees to which you can implement AJAX, and we all agreed that as an enhancing and enabling technology, it's a great tool, but it is not the be-all-end-all of technologies, and its overuse is a huge, huge problem.

When discussing Silverlight and Flex, we talked about how both technologies utilize compiled code, so the interaction with these kinds of applications is inherently snappier and consumes less bandwidth than doing full-page refreshes on server-side technology pages like PHP and ASP.NET. Additionally, the representative from Adobe made the point that Flex is here now, and you can use it now to deploy real-world applications. While this is true, it's somewhat irrelevant in that once Silverlight RTMs, that won't be a valid argument. Silverlight will be just as easy to get onto desktops as Flash is/was, it's just a matter of time. That said, I did like his point that the development tool for Flex can be used natively on the Mac or on Windows, whereas Silverlight development requires Visual Studio "Orcas", even though you can view/run Silverlight apps on the Mac. I would love a native Cocoa tool for building Silverlight apps.

Other interesting things that I learned included the fact that Coach Wei thinks Java Server Faces is an incredibly stupid idea, and actually used the phrase, "lipstick on a pig", which immediately made him that much more appealing in my book :) I've never heard of Java Server Faces before, so I can't comment on it.

All in all I think the panel discussion was fantastic, and we made some good points and got a lot of viewer questions answered, even the one from the guy who wanted an autographed copy of Yakov's book (what? nobody wants an autographed copy of SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed?). On my way out the door I got pulled into an "SOA Power Panel" that was taped rather than live, and that 30 minute discussion should show up on SYS-CON.TV sometime in the near future.

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More Stories By Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.

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