Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson, Progress Blog, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Eclipse, Machine Learning

Eclipse: Article

Which Technologies Will Carry the Rich Internet Torch?

Adobe AIR, Curl, Google Gears & Gadgets, Yahoo! Widgets, and Slingshot

If Gartner's assessment of AJAX's position on the Hype Cycle is correct, then the days when AJAX is the only game in town are over. Enter the age of what Anne Thomas Manes of the Burton Group calls 'Fit Clients' - a hybrid of Thick Clients (a.k.a. Fat Clients) and Thin Clients (HTML and RIA).

Gartner Group publishes a type of market analysis every year called the Hype Cycle. In general – as the theory goes – certain products go through the hype cycle where they gain a lot of traction until the hype surrounding the technology reaches its peak. It’s at this point, when expectations have far outstretched the capabilities of the platform, that people realize that the technology has limitations and become disillusioned. Subsequently the popularity for the technology plummets.

Fortunately, the most useful technologies recover from this plummet and eventually reach equilibrium where customer expectations are aligned with the technology's capabilities.

Figure 1 illustrates the Gartner Hype Cycle.

Figure 1: The Gartner EmergingTechnology Hype Cycle

In the course of the past 15 years we’ve seen the Hype Cycle realized over and over again. Rapid Application Development (RAD) with tools like PowerBuilder, Borland Delphi, and Visual Basic went through this process in the early 1990s. Java and Dynamic HTML (DHTML) survived the process in the late 1990s. More recently, according to Gartner Group, AJAX has already past the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and has started tumbling down toward the “Trough of Disillusionment,”

If Gartner's assessment of AJAX's position on the Hype Cycle is correct, than the days when AJAX is the only game in town is over. Enter the Fit Client.

The latest technology to be “triggered” in the Hype Cycle is what some are calling the “Desktop 2.0,” Rich Internet Clients (RIC), or Rich Internet Applications for the Desktop (RIA Desktop). Regardless of what you call it, Adobe AIR is currently its archetype representative. Adobe AIR is gaining ground as AJAX loses traction.

What’s interesting is that Adobe AIR addresses some of the expectations that were not met by AJAX. It provides a consistent user-experience across desktops, allows for off-line and on-line interactions, and can store and process large data sets stored on the desktop. Specifically, Adobe AIR makes it possible to develop what Anne Thomas Manes of the Burton Group calls “Fit Clients.”

Fit Clients

Fit clients, as Manes describes them, are hybrid of Thick Clients (a.k.a. Fat Clients) and Thin Clients (HTML and RIA). Fit clients embrace the local processing and offline capabilities of Thick Clients while providing tooling normally associated with thin-client web applications. Adobe AIR is definitely a Fit Client technology, but it's not the first and won’t be the only player in this space. Other Fit Client technologies include: Java Web Start, Curl, desktop widget engines (e.g. Google Gadgets, Yahoo! Widgets, Apple Desktop), Google Gears, and SlingShot to name a few. All of these platforms are Fit Client platforms. Adobe AIR is neither the first nor the only technology in the Fit Client space, but it does have the most momentum for now.

Fit Client platforms all implement pretty much the same architecture. They leverage a runtime environment that has been ported to two or more desktop operating systems. End-user applications are written to the runtime, not the desktop, and are therefore portable to every platform that supports the runtime environment. If that sounds familiar it’s because we’ve seen it already: Sun has been promoting its own Fit Client technology, Java Web Start, for about seven years. The fact that Java Web Start was there first raises an interesting question: why didn’t Java Web Start gain the same kind of momentum as Adobe AIR is currently enjoying? The difference is partly marketing and partly timing.

Marketing and Timing

No one is going to accuse Sun Microsystems of being good at marketing. They managed to create the most common software platform in history yet their ability to profit off of that platform is highly suspect. Although Sun is sometimes “marketing-challenged,” Adobe is not. Adobe put on a marketing campaign for AIR that would make Steve Jobs proud. This difference in marketing skill certainly accounts for some of the differences in the adoption rate of Adobe AIR vs. Java Web Start. Still, the success of Adobe AIR probably has as much or more to do with timing than anything else.

AJAX arrived in early 2005 with the introduction of Google’s revolutionary web-based mapping service and the coining of the term “AJAX” by Jesse James Garrett. Everyone was so enamored with Google Maps and the rich interaction it afforded that the desire for other web sites with richer interfaces grew and grew. Today, companies and consumers are familiar with what RIA technologies make possible. We are no longer satisfied with the web as a hypertext platform; we want desktop-like GUIs, smooth animated transitions, and a single page interface. Thanks to Google and all of the AJAX implementations that have followed, we have discovered another side of the web. Call it the rich Internet experience.

The Rich Internet Experience

With the appeal of the rich Internet experience AJAX gained enormous traction. Not since the introduction of Java or XML have I seen a technology gain mindshare among developers and corporations so quickly. But our expectations of what AJAX could do grew beyond the capabilities of the technology. We wanted our rich Internet experience to be more like a desktop experience. This is the climate today and it's the climate in which Adobe AIR was introduced. Great marketing by Adobe played a big role, but so did the natural evolution of consumers’ expectations. We had seen the potential of the rich Internet experience and wanted more. In contrast, when Java Web Start was introduced it made hardly a splash. Java Web Start was introduced into a very different climate. The world was still gun-shy about Java as a client technology (I think we still are).

Google’s use of AJAX techniques helped to kick off our desire for a richer web experience, but it is Fit Client technologies like Adobe AIR, Curl, Google Gears, Google Gadgets, Yahoo! Widgets, and Slingshot, etc. that will carry the rich Internet torch for the next two or three years.

This column appears exclusively at SYS-CON.com. Copyright © 2008 Richard Monson-Haefel.
(This copyright notice supersedes the one auto-generated at the foot of this page.)


More Stories By Richard Monson-Haefel

Richard Monson-Haefel, an award-winning author and technical analyst, owns Richard Monson-Haefel Consulting. Formerly he was VP of Developer Relations at Curl Inc. and before that a Senior Analyst at The Burton Group. He was the lead architect of OpenEJB, an open source EJB container used in Apache Geronimo, a member of the JCP Executive Committee, member of JCP EJB expert groups, and an industry analyst for Burton Group researching enterprise computing, open source, and Rich Internet Application (RIA) development.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
HommeDeJava 03/07/08 01:03:20 PM EST

And the winner is... GWT...

Building on over six millions Java developers and sound expertise of Rich Webapps the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) could become the next big thing.

GWT and Java-to-JavaScript compilation are already big. In fact, GWT the open source "client-centric" Java framework makes writing Rich Webapps like Google Maps and Gmail easy for Java developers who don't speak JavaScript as a second language.

GWT is not just good to build Ajax Webapps, GWT is also good to build "desktop-like" applications that run in a browser.

http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/

@CloudExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins June 5-7, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @Cloud Expo New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Daniel Jones, CTO of EngineerBetter, will answer: How can we improve willpower and decrease technical debt? Is the present bias real? How can we turn it to our advantage? Can you increase a team’s effective IQ? How do DevOps & Product Teams increase empathy, and what impact does empath...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?