We gave birth to RIA.


Adobe’s Mike Downey and I were throwing comments back and forth on twitter.com this morning, it was derived from Brad Becker (ex Flash Product guy @ Macromedia and now Microsoft staffer) post on RIA.

Brad posted this a few months ago when JD @ Adobe got all fired up over Rich Interactive Applications vs Rich Internet Applications. Adobe will argue until they are blue in the face that Microsoft are attempting to Hijack the term RIA and .. blah blah blah.

Honestly, whom named RIA (Microsoft or Adobe) has become irrelevant. If you look at the history of RIA overall, it’s something that we have always hinted at but never could quite get there.

VRML for example would have to by far my earliest memory of the “RIA” concept. You have a rich 3D world in which you can interact with, but of course in the late 1990’s there was only so much you could do in terms of client-to-server side interaction.

In 2000, I remember seeing Erik’s attempt at WebOS.com, which was by far the earliest iteration of RIA / AJAX I’ve seen. You may know of Erik today as one of the brains behind Google Gears, WebFX and Bindows.NET

I was working on Billabong’s website’s in 2000, when I first started to use Flash + Remote Servers, but it was with Flash 5 and all I could do was bring in variables remotely via PARAM or URL string. RIA was my intent but couldn’t execute.

I’ve been on the Macromedia ride ever since, but like all the previous iterations of “RIA” it just hasn’t been executed. There have been success stories of RIA working today, but it hasn’t changed the landscape and I say this as if it has we wouldn’t be seeing AJAX. There is no need for AJAX if “FLASH” RIA were to succeed? one cancels out the other and many have argued this case.

Silverlight and Flash Player are advanced, no question in this but both Adobe and Microsoft can’t own RIA because it’s realistically an idea or belief that was first formed many years ago and whilst Adobe will have you believe they are the founders of RIA, they simply built a campaign around it.

It’s like saying AJAX is owned by Jesse James Garrett or he invented AJAX? (he did? I’m sure Google and Microsoft both had a large role to play in this, Microsoft with XmlHttpRequest and Google in its mainstream use).

We the community are the ones whom own RIA, not Microsoft or Adobe. They simply enable and market the idea of what RIA should be.

Comments (17)

  1. Mike Downey says:

    Scott, are you insinuating that Adobe claims to "own" RIAs in order to make a point? That is kind of shady.

  2. Garry Trinder says:

    Nope 🙂

    Not sure how you arrived to that conclusion to be honest but I can understand your defence posture.

    Overall, i think RIA is like AJAX, it’s always existed just took a nice marketing engine to make it on the tips of everyones brain 🙂

    Microsoft, Adobe who cares, it will come down to tools, services and community to execute it (something you are more aware of than me).

    I’d personaly like to see Adobe rise above the whole whom coined RIA argument and simply take ownership of the problem through expansion in tools and services. I think AIR is a good start, but make no mistake there is more you need to do as software is one thing, services is another.

    Brad made his post to set the record straight as to why Microsoft chose to use Interactive instead of Internet – that is all.

    *shrug* more work to be done 🙂

  3. Mike Downey says:

    > Not sure how you arrived to that conclusion to be honest but I can understand your defence posture.

    [QUOTE]

    Silverlight and Flash Player are advanced, no question in this but both Adobe and Microsoft can’t own RIA because it’s realistically an idea or belief that was first formed many years ago and whilst Adobe will have you believe they are the founders of RIA, they simply built a campaign around it.

    It’s like saying AJAX is owned by Jesse James Garrett or he invented AJAX? (he did? I’m sure Google and Microsoft both had a large role to play in this, Microsoft with XmlHttpRequest and Google in its mainstream use).

    We the community are the ones whom own RIA, not Microsoft or Adobe. They simply enable and market the idea of what RIA should be.[/QUOTE]

    And now you’re implying in your comment that Adobe is somehow hung up on the "who coined RIA" argument. Aren’t you the one writing the blog post about this that references a post from another MSFT staffer who also ranted about this?

    I do think that it is noteworthy that Macromedia was an innovator in bringing RIAs to the mainstream. We did a LOT of work to promote the idea, including building products like Flex.

    You are correct in saying that the most important thing is that everyone’s work in bringing the value and importance of RIAs to life has resulted in a strong, vibrant industry. The competition between the big software companies (it’s not just about MS and Adobe, btw) is REALLY, REALLY good. It means we’re working harder and faster, and we’re investing more than ever in making our solutions even better for the millions of web developers who want to build great experiences.

    Mike Downey, Adobe

    mdowney –at– adobe.com

  4. Garry Trinder says:

    The quote you pasted, is what it means, in that *both* Adobe and Microsoft don’t own the term RIA, it’s something that has existed previously. It’s also why I linked to Wikipedia for RIA. To imply that Macromedia’s definition is the actual correct term associated to the acronymn implies that you guys intended on being the ones responsible for it.

    [quote]

    Gosh, who are these guys, and what makes them tick? 😉

    Recap: Microsoft is degrading the term "RIA", trying to disassociate it from its roots by attempting to redefine it. It might still be just naive obliviousness, but it’s looking increasingly like a conscious deception.

    Why don’t ya’ll just do something good, yourself, instead?

    jd/adobe

    [/quote]

    And you yourself followed the same step that jd pitched:

    [quote]

    @MossyBlog: I’ll be happy to review that letter to Ray Ozzie for you. We coined the term "RIA" so we know a lot about it. 😉 about 7 hours ago from web in reply to MossyBlog  

    [/quote]

    I mean? come on, read between the lines and look at the undercurrent of intent. We could adjust the context of wording to suite our own arguments but the underlying slip(s) were made (i’ve experienced this from Adobe in both forums like blogs and verbal, i’d not blog it otherwise).

    Adobe is hung up on it, thus why we got into the conversation in the first place. It was instigated further by yourself on it all, i’m not saying you don’t actually have a beef with it – i can see how it can go against the grain, especially after the marketing campaign put in by Macromedia in the early days.

    Yet, Microsoft also had an aggressive proposition around RIA, they had both Rich Interactive Application and "Smart Client" but overall their pitch was similiar in approach. Assuming Macromedia "coined" the term, is well based on which community you belonged to at the time (keeping in mind Mike, that not all out there understand Adobe/Macromedia’s value proposition. Something I’ve learnt being on this side of the fenceline).

    I think we all could put the "who started it" debate to rest, and as you say, focus on bringing the overall concept (interactive or internet) to life.

  5. Scott, the part I think you (and Brad) are missing is MM brought it to life by providing software to build RIAs. Your remark about Jesse owning Ajax doesn’t compare. He took someone else’s tech’ and gave a name to a combination of approaches. MM built RIA to what it is today, IMO. Also keep in mind that saying "Rich, Interactive Web Applications" really means "Rich Web Applications and Interactive Web Applications" (just shortened). That comma holds a lot to it (taking away RIA to R,IWA). Not the same.

    I won’t rant and go and on but you have to see how it is pretty "shady"/odd/interesting that MSFT would take a term another company (major at that) is using AND, more so, has publicly coined. Your next point, I guess, would be that MSFT wouldn’t care if Adobe’s next great phrase was WPF (Web Presentation Foundation)?

    Trust me…I’m not trying to fan the flame but you have to put the koolaid down for just a minute 😀 and realize how crazy it really is to see MSFT do this. I just laughed and shrugged my shoulders when I first saw it.

    Oh well…

  6. Scott, I wanted to clarify my position on the whole thing. While my last comment identifies my distaste for MSFT using the exact acronym I don’t disagree with the term.

    (side post/comment)

    I was recently (about a month ago) thinking about what to call an Apollo app I am working on that doesn’t hit the Internet (at all). It was in terms of the name of the app but in terms of the apps description. I think "Interactive" would fit it better but still…RIA…well…see above and my last comment.

    😀

  7. Garry Trinder says:

    JC,

    Actually whilst some would believe that RIA is in fact a Macromedia Flash thing, actually the sad truth is their is a bulk of folks whom think RIA is AJAX.

    Macromedia are playing the "we claim this here land" card quite hard. Microsoft are pushing the Rich Interactive Application angle not out of spite, but simply because it dates back internally ( There is internal bits and drabs that date back ). I heard this term when I first arrived and still being quite new to Microsoft and having my Macromedia community chip inplanted, kept correcting them. I did a search thinking I should update some of our internal docs to match only there it was, dating back years. *shrug* want to argue that point go for it, but dates don’t lie 🙂

    Personally, I think Macromedia failed in the RIA space. It never took, it had spot wins here and there but sadly, it’s not a success story and it’s not through lack of trying.

    If Microsoft chooses to distance itself from Macromedia’s RIA definition then it may be simply because of past failures. Flash 9 is 85% yes, RIA is not and more AJAX applications exist then RIA, so what does that say overall?

    Silverlight is in fact our interactive tier, Adobe can moan all they like about internet vs interactive, but in the end, Microsoft doesn’t have to bow to their rules and terms of use? Just as they wouldn’t with ours. If Adobe want to take ownership of the RIA acronymn, do so in the products and services offered and less about haggling over the past. I find it embarassing to be honest that folks like jd puff their chest out via blogs on how they "started it all" style blog posts?

    If it were a success and life was good, Microsoft, Google and so on wouldn’t have to weigh in on the RIA conversation and take charge of the issue. There is a gap, we waited patiently for it to be filled, but sadly times up, we need to move forward and Macromedia in the end blew it. I think the catalyst point was when they diverted attention to Flex, hiked the price and lost perspective on continuing the Flash product lines.. they were so close  you could smell the success… $12k per CPU will do that to you though.

    Anyway, it’s time to move away from the Microsoft vs Adobe crap, it’s gotten old, points have been made but in the end, developers & designers see through it all. Most people don’t really want to hear the anti-Microsoft dribble, those that do well it’s preaching to the choir.

    I have a lot of respect for M.Downey but today i’m not buying it 🙂 he’s smarter than this and usually a lot more strategic in his wording? ( wtf Mike heh 😀 )

    Want the crown of RIA, prove your worth I say 🙂 get the community to build it and the company that does so the most, gets to weir the prome-queen-RIA crown 🙂 hehe.

    (No offence to all btw, I mean all this half-heartedly) 🙂

  8. AJ says:

    Waste of bloody time… i better unsubscribe from the blog now

  9. Mike D says:

    All MS has to do at this point is get Silverlight right. Dotnet is a mature framework. Action Script at this point will probably never catch up. I have years of Flex experience and my company stopped all Flex Dev because of Silverlight. MS your up, please get RIA right.

  10. Understood but RIA will always take me back to Broadmoor and MM. 😀

    (btw, I haven’t seen more Ajax RIA’s…I’m building several big one’s for several large companies and I see a lot more coming up from them and related companies in their arenas. MM did something right.) 😉

  11. Garry Trinder says:

    My first RIA "flash" memory would probably be the Pet Market Application as it was the realistic end to end version I saw (server + client).

    I must admit, I really hadn’t either until after joining Microsoft. I see it more then ever and when you look at the scale of developers in MSFT’s camp vs Adobe, it does tip in our favour.

    I’m suprised by AJAX to be honest, i really don’t have a lot of apathy for it, simply because there is no future.. you spin-up an AJAX application, sure it does an effective job but when you go beyond HTML in terms of media you start to partner up with plugins.. that for me is just stalling for time, why not go the plugin route?

    MM did a lot of things right, but I say they failed simply because take twitter.com (the very mouth piece which kicked off this blog post). Here you have a "Web 2.0" centric application, which everyone is building RIA clients around but Twitter.com themselves.

    Twitter.com crashes a lot right? so must be some serious server load issues, yet it uses AJAX instead of a plugin? I mean surely the ROI would be in the Flash’s favour if they bit the bullet and adopted a Flash Version of the entire site? Maybe even Flash Media Server, to reduce ping/pong effects.

    It doesn’t.. why? I see a mix of my twitter friends using various client-side applications (so the demographic clearly wants out of the browser model?)

    Thats why I think MM Failed.. they still haven’t convinced the world that adopting Flash instead of AJAX is a good thing (That or ExternalInterface is your back door out should you require it).

  12. Heh…I still remember the design of the first PetMarket. 🙂

    (kinda taking another direction here)

    The one thing MSFT has is an advantage in seeing where Flash loses. I will say Flash not starting out as an RIA tool hurt it because of how the general perspective of the community. Meaning…I don’t see Silverlight being used for annoying ads and poorly developed sites.

    MM had to steer a huge ship (community perspective) and I don’t think it has fully turned (on the way; big time). MSFT gets to start in the right direction.

    So, I don’t think MM failed. They missed a few critical (developer) community needs but overall they (and Adobe) are getting there (with the community perception & namely in terms of workflow like MSFT has).

  13. Mike Downey says:

    <snip>Macromedia are playing the "we claim this here land" card quite hard. Microsoft are pushing the Rich Interactive Application angle not out of spite, but simply because it dates back internally ( There is internal bits and drabs that date back ).</snip>

    (rolls eyes)

    – Mike Downey, Adobe

  14. John Dowdell says:

    I saw my name mentioned, but couldn’t pull out the point.

    jd/adobe

  15. Geek Life says:

    lol. That sums up this whole post. 🙂 Quick Background Scott Barnes is a former Flash/Flex’er who now has a job with Microsoft Evangelist. Ryan Stewart is a former full time developer who now has a job as an Adobe…

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