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An A to Z for the RIA Era

Platforms & Web Development Frameworks in 2008

From AIR to ZK, this is an alphabetical round-up of the fast moving-world of application development tools and frameworks spawned ever since the appearance of Google Maps, the canonical early RIA. The list includes AIR, Appcelerator, ATF, Curl, Dojo, Echo, Eclipse RCP, Ext JS, Flex, Grails, GWT, JavaFX, Kabuki, Nexaweb Enterprise Web 2.0 platform, Novulu, OpenLaszlo, Prototype, Rico, Ruby on Rails, Seam, Silverlight, ThinWire, TIBCO GI, ULC, WaveMaker, Yahoo! User Interface Library, Zend Framework, and ZK.

Editorial note: The words used to describe the various solutions are in every case taken from the sites cited, so as ever we encourage developers in every case to "suck it and see" by downloading or otherwise sampling the tool in question for themselves.

Omissions should be sent to ria (at) sys-con.com, and we will endeavor to include them in a future revision of this round-up.

Adobe AIR - cross-operating system runtime that lets developers use their existing web development skills in HTML, AJAX, Flash and Flex to build and deploy rich Internet applications to the desktop (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/air/).

Appcelerator - a next-generation, open source web platform for developing Rich Internet Applications on a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), Appcelerator is standards-based, supports all modern web browsers and can be developed in Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby on Rails and Python (http://www.appcelerator.org/index.html).

ATF - AJAX Toolkit Framework (ATF) from Eclipse provides and extensible framework and exemplary tools for building IDEs for the many different AJAX runtime offerings (Dojo, Zimbra, Rico, etc) in the market (http://www.eclipse.org/atf/).

Curl - a full-featured and robust technology beyond HTML and JavaScript, enabling the development of very rich Web client applications(http://www.curl.com/products.php).

Dojo - an Open Source DHTML toolkit written in JavaScript that allows you to easily build dynamic capabilities into web pages and any other environment that supports JavaScript sanely (http://dojotoolkit.org/about)

Echo - a platform for building web-based applications that approach the capabilities of rich clients (http://echo.nextapp.com/site/echo2).

Eclipse RCP - a platform for building and deploying rich client applications (http://www.eclipse.org/home/categories/rcp.php)

Ext JS - a cross-browser JavaScript library for building RIAs (http://extjs.com/).

Flex - a complete, powerful application development solution for creating and delivering rich Internet applications (RIAs) within the enterprise and across the web.(http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/).

Google Web Toolkit (GWT) - an open source Java software development framework that makes writing AJAX applications like Google Maps and Gmail easy for developers who don't speak browser quirks as a second language (http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/).

Grails - an open-source web application framework that leverages the Groovy language and complements Java Web development (http://grails.org/).

JavaFX - a family of products based on Java technology designed to enable consistent user experiences, from desktop to mobile device to set-top box to Blu-ray Disc (http://sun.com/javafx).

Kabuki - the Kabuki (a.k.a Zimbra) AJAX Toolkit is a client developer library, similar in style to traditional object-oriented widget libraries like Eclipse's SWT, albeit for JavaScript (http://www.zimbra.com/community/kabuki_ajax_toolkit_download.html).


Enterprise Web 2.0 platform - a robust, scalable application deployment solution that supports the delivery of rich, secure, mission-critical business applications to users around the world via the Web (http://www.nexaweb.com/home/us/[email protected]=2300.html).

Novulo - an award winning visual web development solution for rapidly building and easily deploying AJAX-based web applications - starting with the user interface, the real screens that customers are going to use. Novolu generates the application from the user interface, and deploys them automatically on any LAMP or WAMP server (http://novulo.com).

OpenLaszlo - leading open source platform for the development and delivery of rich Internet applications on the World Wide Web (http://www.openlaszlo.org/).

Prototype - a JavaScript Framework that aims to ease development of dynamic web applications - features a unique, easy-to-use toolkit for class-driven development and the nicest AJAX library around (http://www.prototypejs.org/).

Rico - an open source JavaScript framework used to create and extend AJAX-based web applications: JavaScript for Rich Internet Applications (http://openrico.org/).

Ruby on Rails - a full-stack framework for developing database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Control pattern. From the AJAX in the view, to the request and response in the controller, to the domain model wrapping the database, Rails gives you a pure-Ruby development environment. To go live, all you need to add is a database and a web server (http://www.rubyonrails.org/).

Seam - a powerful new application framework from JBoss for building next generation Web 2.0 applications by unifying and integrating technologies such as AJAX, Java Server Faces (JSF), Enterprise Java Beans (EJB3), Java Portlets and Business Process Management (BPM). (http://www.jboss.com/products/seam).

Silverlight - a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web (http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/).

ThinWire Ajax RIA Framework - a framework for building zero footprint AJAX browser applications that feel like desktop GUI applications. Program AJAX on the server, using an event driven GUI model that reconnects program logic (http://sourceforge.net/projects/thinwire/).

TIBCO General Interface - an open source project focused on enabling rapid creation of reliable AJAX applications, components and portlets with the look and feel of desktop graphical user interface applications (http://www.tibco.com/devnet/gi/default.jsp).

ULC - UltraLightClient from Canoo is a library to develop Rich Internet Applications (RIA) in Java. It uses Swing on the client, standard communication protocols set by the J2EE container, and standard lifecycle management on the server (http://www.canoo.com/ulc/).

WaveMaker - enables the visual assembly and rapid deployment of Web 2.0 applications that meet enterprise IT requirements (http://www.wavemaker.com/downloads/).

Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library - a set of utilities and controls, written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX and also including several core CSS resources (http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/).

Zend Framework - leading open source PHP framework, focused on building more secure, reliable, and modern Web 2.0 applications & web services, and consuming widely available APIs from leading vendors like Google, Amazon, Yahoo! and Flickr (http://framework.zend.com/home).

- an open-source AJAX Web framework that enables rich user interface for Web applications with little programming (http://www.zkoss.org/)

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
radixweb 08/21/08 04:33:28 AM EDT

Good Information for web development services......

Java developer.....

Ellie's Professional Software Insight 02/10/08 08:34:25 PM EST

Trackback Added: An A-Z of RIA Frameworks : From Adobe AIR to Zimbra Kabuki AJAX Toolkit; SYS-CON Media?? RIA Frameworks? ?? ???? ? ? URL : http://dotnet.sys-con.com/read/491052.htm From Adobe AIR to ZK: An A - Z of RIA Frameworks in 2008 — From AIR to ZK, this is an alphabetical round-up of the fast moving-world of application development t..

Clean AJAX 01/29/08 05:42:52 AM EST

Easy to use AJAX framework that uses messages to control AJAX requests - provides message queue, XSLT, XPath, encryption (SHA1, MD5), web service access (SOAP, XMLRPC), JSON-RPC, cross browser AJAX, AJAX history and cache control.

Oracle ADF 01/29/08 05:39:44 AM EST

Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) is an end-to-end J2EE framework that simplifies development by providing out of the box infrastructure services and a visual and declarative development experience.

OpenXava 01/28/08 10:33:19 AM EST

OpenXava is a full-stack framework for developing database-backed web applications, like Ruby on Rails, but OpenXava produces standard J2EE / JavaEE applications that can be deployed and any standard Java Application Server (or standard Java Portal).

OpenXava has been created by Java developers (who need developing Java Enterprise applications in a productive way) for their own use; hence it's powerful, extensible and enjoyable by a Java expert.

On the other hand OpenXava allows to a new Java developer to start rapidly to be productive, therefore is a pleasant experience for beginners too.

Gérard Ringenaldus 01/28/08 07:52:38 AM EST

Jeremy Geelan asked for Omissions to his list, and I would like to add a product called Novulo.

Novulo is the award winning Visual Web Development solution for rapidly building and easily deploying AJAX-based web applications.

Novulo allows you to build web applications, starting with the user interface, the real screens that customers are going to use.

We generate the application from the user interface, and deploy them automatically on any LAMP or WAMP server.

Zoop Framework 01/28/08 07:48:46 AM EST

Anyone her know when Zoop will come back online?

Makumba 01/28/08 05:24:53 AM EST

Makumba is a query-centric technology designed by BEST that helps you to rapidly develop web applications that keep their data in a database (i.e. data driven web applications).

It is implemented in Java and offers a JSP tag library and a Java API to the web app developer. The technology has been in use since late 2001, and is being further developed, based on users' experience and requests.

Django 01/28/08 05:20:38 AM EST

Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.

Developed and used over two years by a fast-moving online-news operation, Django was designed to handle two challenges: the intensive deadlines of a newsroom and the stringent requirements of the experienced Web developers who wrote it. It lets you build high-performing, elegant Web applications quickly.

DotNetNuke 01/28/08 05:19:09 AM EST

DotNetNuke is a free, Open Source Framework ideal for creating Enterprise Web Applications. It is an open source web application framework ideal for creating, deploying and managing interactive web, intranet and extranet sites.

Pyjamas 01/27/08 03:56:42 PM EST

A Python equivalent of the Google Web Toolkit. Build AJAX apps in Python (like Google did for Java).

RIA Site 01/27/08 01:13:45 PM EST

If you want a peek into the future of RIAs (rich Internet applications), take a look at Tabblo (tabblo.com). The model that Tabblo has set into motion for photographers -- both amateur and professional -- will soon be adopted by enterprise IT to empower its user base.

GWT On Rails? 01/27/08 11:34:14 AM EST

GWT-REST is an asynchronous RESTful client implementation for GWT.

GWT-REST can be used alongside GWT-RPC or as a replacement for it. The intent is to provide a drop-in solution for communicating with REST web services that may or may not be implemented in Java.

A set of generic interfaces is provided along with implementations for JSON and Rails in this first release.

Confused 01/27/08 11:30:51 AM EST

So is this about Rails versus Grails or Ruby versus Groovy or C versus Java?

RoR 01/27/08 11:22:26 AM EST

If you're interested in Ruby on Rails and how you can use it to build sexy rich Internet applications, then you should join the Ruby on Rails RIA mailing list at Google Group. Here's the link: http://groups.google.com/group/adobe-rubyonrails-ria-sdk

Grails vs Rails 01/27/08 11:19:07 AM EST

Rails has zero enterprise penetration, let's put that out there right now. Grails on the other hand has enterprise penetration and is only growing.

Grails 01/27/08 10:26:20 AM EST

Grails is an open-source web application framework that leverages the Groovy language and complements Java Web development. You can use Grails as a standalone development environment that hides all configuration details or integrate your Java business logic.

openJFX 01/27/08 09:15:20 AM EST

OpenJFX is the site where development of various parts of JavaFX is happening in the open.

For example, the compiler that is being written for JavaFX Script is being developed at the OpenJFX site, so that developers interested in trying out the early versions can grab the latest copy for themselves and even pitch in with suggestions and feedback for the development group.

Thinlet 01/27/08 08:32:11 AM EST

Thinlet is a complete GUI toolkit for J2SE and Personal Profile (e.g. J9 VM for Pocket PCs). The new version is completely redesigned from ground up, currently only a very early alpha version is available to introduce its main features.

Helmi 01/27/08 08:28:41 AM EST

Helmi's Open Source RIA Platform permits client- and server-side engineers to work independently while communicating effectively through an object-oriented environment.

Today's end users demand the rich, highly interactive experience that is the promise of Web 2.0. At the core of this experience are high performance applications powered by Rich Internet Application (RIA) and Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) technologies.

Project Zero 01/27/08 08:20:30 AM EST

Project Zero, an IBM incubator project, is an agile development and execution environment which leverages REST and scripting runtimes to speed and simplify development and deployment of dynamic Web applications. Project Zero includes a scripting runtime for Groovy and PHP with application programming interfaces optimized for producing REST-style services, integration mash-ups and rich Web interfaces.

XUI RIA Framework 01/27/08 06:31:10 AM EST

XUI is a Java and XML RIA platform for building smart apps. Swing, AWT and other widget sets can be used on a range of hardware. XUI's modular framework can help many aspects of application development.

Ariaware RIA Frameworks 01/27/08 06:29:22 AM EST

Ariaware RIA Frameworks is an Open-Source Best-Practices Pattern-Based Framework for Flash & Flex-based RIA Development.

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