Why I choose to use Interactive, not Internet in RIA.


I get this a lot, and most think I’m just annoying Adobe by using the word “Interactive” instead of “Internet”. I think I’ve already covered this discussion in fragments but thought I’d do it one last time to cement my reasons once and for all.


Internet for me isn’t the right word, it’s semantically incorrect and out of touch with today’s actual “RIA” (Rich Interactive Applications) solutions. Typically, hardware vendors are looking at Rich Interactive Applications with new found respect, and monitoring both Microsoft and Adobe movements in this space.


When you couple hardware vendors along side most internal facing solutions, the word Internet starts to have a confusing message/meaning, as well…. Internet isn’t really being used?


I also support the “Interactive” word based off my own personal experiences. Most of the RIA solutions I worked on prior to Microsoft never saw the light of day beyond the corporate firewall, they were essentially unified views over complex back end systems (insert SOA buzz wording here). In saying this, Internet never actually played a role – it did use the approach of what the Internet has, in terms of “web centric” methodologies but again, no actual Internet – maybe “Intranet” more so.


Point overall is that we at Microsoft have a compelling story around Software + Services, and if you take the time to read about it, the word Internet in RIA doesn’t always apply. Interactive for me was the correct wording, as it doesn’t confuse per say, in that If I were to approach a customer and state “I am building you a Rich Interactive Application” it takes on a whole new context to “I am building you a Rich Internet Application”.


The world has changed since 2002 when Jeremy Alliare wrote a whitepaper around “Rich Internet Applications” and with change, comes upgrade and evolution. I predict Interactive will become more familiar as time goes by than Internet.


Why live in the past, when the future is much brighter.

Comments (23)

  1. Cannot agree more, the new web phenomena is about interactivity and about how you put business or social practices into a simplistic form across the web.  It’s all about smart technology, developing applications that are intuitive and rich in functionalities.

    The more interactivity you perform with your users the more outcomes you can reach, projects such as Wikipedia would not be even heard of if it wasn’t for its ability to be moderated by the public.  However these days that’s just a minor example.

    I look forward to the next couple of years as I believe we are going to hit another boom in the Internet industry with new technologies and information strategies.

  2. Aaron says:

    (FYI, your page looks terrible in Firefox if you care … I can’t see the body of the text without selecting it).

    Rich implies interactive to me, so I’m not sure that will catch on as the ‘right’ word (rich an interactive are nearly synonyms in this case).

    What the acronym really should be:

    RWSDA = Rich Web Server Deployed/Delivered Applications

    πŸ™‚

    Doesn’t flow off the tounge nearly as well though.

  3. As I’ve noted before, Interactive does fit in some ways but I have a question for you.

    How many times have you built an Ajax app and actually used XML? When you didn’t use XML, did you still call it Ajax?

  4. kenazuma says:

    I agree. I vote for "interactive". Because RIA means new stage of software development for value proposition for me. for differentiation. Now, Internet and "Net" are more common than before, Jeremy’s definition time.

  5. Garry Trinder says:

    Mark: Britney Spears is the most popular recording artist online at the moment in google.. doesn’t mean she has talent πŸ™‚ (except if you’re Chris Crocker – LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE, SHE’S NOT WELL RIGHT NOW) πŸ˜›

    Point: Being popular is one thing, staying popular is another.

    John: Don’t even get me started on AJAX.. (I came from the school of DHTML not AJAX..)

    Rich is the key word, Application is the definition and the I is the semantics ..

  6. jsmith says:

    If Adobe were the first to create the term RIA for the Flex technology & refer to it as Rich Internet Application then I think trying to change it is disrespectful.  How would Microsoft feel if Adobe tried to call WPF as WWW Presentation Foundation?

  7. Garry Trinder says:

    That’s a little melodramatic. You’re assigning emotion and nostalgic reasoning to a concept that was founded before Adobe for starters.

    Jeremy Allaire in 2002 wrote a white paper, or what i call a "think paper" on where he hoped or preferred the Macromedia direction cast a glance forward upon. It was great, it showed some thought leadership around this space and it was what Macromedia based an entire marketing campaign that spans years around. (Macromedia is no more, and Adobe is now underway. Adobe’s direction from Macromedia days has changed dramatically so to whom do we owe the respect?)

    Fact is, Macromedia failed. It didn’t fail on technological merits, it failed in reaching full maturity. To take Johns AJAX analogy further, DHTML was a pre-cursor to AJAX and it was all about DHTML (books, press, etc). It failed.. it didn’t reach maturity because it was still considered rogue or bleeding edge.

    Google applied its brand to DHTML, an author gave it a new name and thus we now know DHTML as being AJAX.

    Rebirth can be a good thing, especially when the company I work for takes a concept that’s been dormant for some time and decides to inject maturity into the discussion, as typically Microsoft has a history of mature approach to Software Development.

    They/We typically don’t sprint to the finish line, it’s a case of evolution, build, fix, listen, repeat.

    I refuse to base RIA off a strategy that was written in 2002 as we have such a different online ecosystem now and technology is not only radically different but the attention eyeballs effect of "Dot Boom 2.0" is underway. This will help muster RIA into the hands of consumers, the trick is to not come in weak.

  8. Garry Trinder says:

    That’s a little melodramatic. You’re assigning emotion and nostalgic reasoning to a concept that was founded before Adobe for starters.

    Jeremy Allaire in 2002 wrote a white paper, or what i call a "think paper" on where he hoped or preferred the Macromedia direction cast a glance forward upon. It was great, it showed some thought leadership around this space and it was what Macromedia based an entire marketing campaign that spans years around. (Macromedia is no more, and Adobe is now underway. Adobe’s direction from Macromedia days has changed dramatically so to whom do we owe the respect?)

    Fact is, Macromedia failed. It didn’t fail on technological merits, it failed in reaching full maturity. To take Johns AJAX analogy further, DHTML was a pre-cursor to AJAX and it was all about DHTML (books, press, etc). It failed.. it didn’t reach maturity because it was still considered rogue or bleeding edge.

    Google applied its brand to DHTML, an author gave it a new name and thus we now know DHTML as being AJAX.

    Rebirth can be a good thing, especially when the company I work for takes a concept that’s been dormant for some time and decides to inject maturity into the discussion, as typically Microsoft has a history of mature approach to Software Development.

    They/We typically don’t sprint to the finish line, it’s a case of evolution, build, fix, listen, repeat.

    I refuse to base RIA off a strategy that was written in 2002 as we have such a different online ecosystem now and technology is not only radically different but the attention eyeballs effect of "Dot Boom 2.0" is underway. This will help muster RIA into the hands of consumers, the trick is to not come in weak.

  9. Techniques says:

    Rich Interactive Applications (Or why Scott is right!) by Don Burnett Note this in an opinion piece..

  10. Randy Troppmann says:

    Scott, rich and interactive are pretty much redundant. Application implies interactivity! The internet is where it’s at. Face it. No one distributes multimedia on CDROMs or any hard media any more. Internet/intranet … it does not matter. It’s about non-desktop apps. It’s about distribution of applications without installs or diskettes or other such nonsense in a way that is platform agnostic. It is rich because it has sound, animation and/or video. It is delivered over TCP/IP. And it does something (requiring *interactivity*) so it is an application. So Rich Internet Application is in fact broader in scope. Jeremy got it right!

  11. dave says:

    "Rebirth can be a good thing"

    well that is until microsoft does the "rebirth" and they turn into into crap, well at least they are good at that. I don’t even see why M$ even tries anymore, it’s getting to be pretty obvious that people are really starting to dislike their half-azzed approach.

    I wish they would leave ria’s alone and quit trying to steal everything from everybody and just go back and at least fix their junk OS and then move forward.

    I cant even post this on the first 5 or 6 tries as your .net is choking.

  12. John says:

    What application bundled with Windows is not "interactive"?  We already have a term that works perfectly here, and diluting the meaning of RIA doesn’t do anyone (aside possibly from Microsoft’s FUD engine) any good.

    I’ll be using RIA as an abbreviation for "interactive" right after the world starts referring to the Internet as the "information superhighway" again.  Ain’t gonna happen.

  13. milan says:

    Like it of not, it’s reverse engineering of acronym. First there was a term (rich internet application), coined by Macromedia, then it became well known acronym. So, regarding your history in Adobe, it’s disrespectful, stupid and ugly to do this. Since a lot of people respect you a lot (including me), I would forget about interactive… my 2 cents

  14. kris scandal says:

    Let’s say RIA stand for "Rich Internet/intranet Application", so you don’t have to piss off us with "Interactive" anymore…

  15. Dan Wilson says:

    Scott,

    Your argument has some merit, technically speaking. RIAs are interactive, I agree. However, the namespace for RIA has been taken. Your argument to change it comes off petty and weak. Certainly you were hired by the Largest Software Company In The World to do more than push silly arguments and troll Flex blogs.

    WPF, WPF/E, Silverlight, Sparkle….  Your new masters can’t seem to agree on a name anyways, so why does it not surprise me that RIA is also an issue.

    Microsoft can not innovate. Microsoft consistently puts out YAHAHIMTP. (Yet Another Half-Ass Half-Implemented Me-Too Product).  

    Vista is a poor analog for OSX.

    Sparkle is a poor analog for Flash.

    Grow up and make your own words and toys.

    Dan Wilson

  16. Brian says:

    I think Adobe’s acronym is closer, although not perfect (because a minority of RIAs don’t connect to the Internet, but most probably do).

    The fact is, EVERY application (desktop, web, mobile) is interactive otherwise it wouldn’t be an application! It’s redundant to say interactive again.

  17. Yeah, I hear you on DHTML but the point is…regardless of you using Internet or not…RIA still stands for Rich Internet. Like I have said, Interactive does fit in several ways but RIA is RIA and will always.

    I also agree with Aaron. Rich covers the interative part for you.

    jsmith is also right, not melodramatic. Following his point, if you are trying to redefine an area you feel Macromedia failed at properly molding, use a new name. Don’t hijack an already well known acronym and pimp it to your user/developer base as new.

    I don’t care which way you spin it Scott…Macromedia created RIA (Yes, Jeremy but he was employed by MM and I’m sure others helped with that doc he wrote) and the entire RIA market. Without MM, RIA would have never taken off to the point where it is now (comparing that to the Ajax explosion). They did such a good job…Microsoft is trying to steal their thunder.

    πŸ˜‰

  18. Geek Life says:

    lol. That sums up this whole post. πŸ™‚ 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…

  19. Garry Trinder says:

    bah…

    response is best served in a post, instead of argumentive comments such as these:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/msmossyblog/archive/2007/10/14/rich-interactive-application-the-plot-thickens-adobe-s-not-happy.aspx

    I expect my blog stalker John C Bland II will have a followup ;P

  20. Tariq Ahmed says:

    WELP!

    I might as well chime in. πŸ™‚ Overtime a term becomes unique in its context, vs what it literally means.

    E.g. when browsers first came out they used the term "bookmarks". Back then the Web was originally a document distribution mechanism, so you literally were bookmarking a page.

    But now, when you say "bookmark it" – do you visualize that you’re doing an electronic version of taking a piece of paper to mark a position in a book? It’s become it’s own term now, and the actual meaning of the words have no relevance. In fact, a bookmark is more synonymous with an address book.

    *BUT*… the verbiage never changed, it became the term. And this is what happened to RIA. When people hear "rich internet application", they no longer take the words literally but consider it a term in itself.

    So, long story short, I doubt the term will change. People are creatures of habit, and "Rich Internet Application" commands big time mind share.

  21. Garry Trinder says:

    – Most actually say "Favourites" now.. "Did you add it to your Favourites".

    – Define everyone? everyone = Adobe community or everyone = world wide? The one thing I learnt coming into Microsoft and meeting folks – OUTSIDE – the Adobe community is RIA is still a foreign term. I spend the first few minutes of most presentations educating folks on what RIA is.

    I’m just illustrating that despite the MXNA sphere we used to live in Tariq, the wider circles around the world really don’t pay all that much attention to Adobe. You will note this as at MAX 2007 there were some – what i thought – heavy hitters in terms of PR drops (Thermo for eg).

    Got little attention from non-Adobe centric PR, what’s that say?

    So.. RIA is still in baby steps, and ask Ryan – hardly anyone talks about RIA – Flex and Silverlight yes, but not about RIA…

  22. Rich I Applications have generated a lot of interest as Microsoft & Adobe have focused attention…