The Tools are going to decide the RIA Future

I just read an interesting article over at Anthony Franco’s blog titled “The Future of Rich Internet Applications” (found via Ryan Stewarts blog). It’s quite a balance piece and whether you subscribe to his ideas or not, you have to at least give him points for being openly honest about it all. It probably also represents how most on the street are thinking about this whole Rich Internet Application (RIA) dream we keep getting sold on.

I personally think the future of RIA isn’t about the output; it’s always going to boil down to the input. I left the Adobe scene not because I hated the technologies; it was because I was frustrated that the focus was always on the wrong things. Developer tools are where the battlegrounds are decided, it’s where you begin the journey, and if you can’t develop with the “right tool, right job” then no matter what end result you can put on the table, it won’t get traction.

WPF has its tools surrounding it, and they are all tightly integrated with one another to allow you to go from Designer to Developer to Finished product in a fairly fluid approach.

Visual Web 2005 also can bring you from HTML to AJAX to end result in a fluid manner.

Visual Studio 2005 can not only do the above, but it also brings about the notion of “Team Collaboration” at the same time.

So for me, I subscribe to the idea that it’s not just about the destination, it’s also about the journey. The end compiled result isn’t always the reason why projects start and finish.

Comments (4)

  1. Phillip Kerman says:

    I’d say it’s even less about the tools and more about the content and creative ways of creating value.  But… back to WPF–what’s the status of that?  It seems so out there in the future. Are people using it now? I haven’t heard of anything except sample projects used simple to promote WPF.  I wasn’t planning on going to MIX this year–but last year I was there and while there were a few cool things, they weren’t available yet.  It’s a year later and I’m still waiting.  Maybe the wait will be worth it?

  2. Garry Trinder says:

    Phillip, I agree partially but it still comes back to the tools you use to get to that point. Staring at a blank canvas can be scarey as is, not to mention then having to think your way through the "how to do I get started" phase.

    If a tools is easier to use, then your mindset is more focused on the creative / content then it originally would be (ie UX in a nutshell).

    Give someone a rock and a nail, they’ll look at building in a different way. Give someone a hammer and a nail, it changes their perception and work ethic.

    WPF is in play, it’s still new and developers are still on the learning curve at the moment (expression suite isn’t entirely finished as yet, but its making rapid progress). So i’d wager around 3 months before you start seeing serious output, as it takes time to learn, grow confidence and what not.

    Windows Vista is being launched, so I’m guessing that will also stimulate some WPF adoption amongst developers.

    This years MIX07 you’ll see more and more of the WPF goodness being made and on display (I’ll be there this year myself and looking forward to seeing it.)

  3. Phillip Kerman says:

    Take something revolutionary like movable type or the printing press and (not surprisingly) it’s never the brand of press that matters in history.  Not once did I watch a movie and say "damn, that must be a XYZ lens they used for that shot–wow".  There have been a few softwares along the way that have made big leaps to make certain things happen (hey, they gave an Emmy to flash video right?).    And, there are some killer apps–but,  I don’t think WPF counts nor does Flash really.  Maybe the Flash player.

    Back to the vapor aspect of the WPF tools… post links (ideally that I can view) as they become available.  

  4. Garry Trinder says:

    Give a guy a rock and a nail and he could hammer it into wood.

    Give a guy a nail gun and he could zap it into wood.

    The output is still the same, it’s the input that counts.

    That’s the core of my argument.