Rich Interactive Application – The plot thickens, Adobe’s not happy.

I was wondering on why I got a sudden wave of hot winded comments around "Microsoft is evil, empire must fall blah blah" style comments and noticed Adobe's Ryan Stewart jumped into the mix.

Focus on the man, not the point.
Ryan's built a career on ranting about Rich Internet Application(s), in fact he carved out a niche by being the guy in the middle of both brands and simply reporting on what he saw at the time. He later joined Adobe and has since been struggling to keep some kind of neutrality in the room, by lacing it with enough "RIA" abstracts to some how shift the focus away from subtle Adobe product placements? I Say this not to offend or attack, but illustrate that there is an agenda behind the man 🙂

Now to label my use as a tactic to simply get Google rankings? (heh the same search engine system that had him focused on which of us where higher in rankings over "Flex Zealot" is umm damn correct. What can I say, my entire strategy for FY08 has come unraveled before the sheer genius of that which is Ryan (sorry mate, If only life was that simple).

Onto the point at hand: The term Interactive 
Now here's the thing folks, before you begin to drink from the Adobe Kool-aid some more and echo their messaging thinly veiled as your own, may I ask that you stop and read the actual white paper that kicked up all of this fuss.

I have many times, to try and find an answer amongst all of this as for years I've known "Internet" wasn't the right word but couldn't settle on one - until now.

Throughout the discussion piece, Jeremy constantly uses the word "Rich Client" not "Rich Internet Application" more times than I care to count. His actual focus was more on product placement and less on painting an abstract view of the world and whenever he did use the word "Rich Internet Application" it was to coincide with a specific focus on Macromedia's server product's (kind of reminds me how religions are formed, someone had an agendaX that worked with agendY to give birth to religionZ).

e.g.: "...Macromedia will provide details on new server solutions for building rich Internet applications with Macromedia Flash, Macromedia ColdFusion, and other application servers:..."

I mention this point for two reasons. The fact that Jeremy referred to "Rich Client(s)" a lot indicated that he to must of struggled with constantly calling it "Rich Internet Application" as well, the wording around Rich Client vs "Rich Internet Application" kind of doesn't resonate as well - that and his focus *by way of reading the whitepaper* was on Client.

Secondly, Rich does not cover the UX story, it simply implies that it the degree of blending/breeding stock of a client or application is greater than what we normally see in today's mainstream software. Keeping in my mind the premise for Rich Client was to empower junior developers the ability to essentially go beyond their paygrade in terms of shipping software.

Ryan and a few others may get very passionate about this and encourage the usual Adobe Community crowd to swarm any whom oppose, but in the end most whom have developed in this space since 2002 will notice that a common trend occurs. The most mature RIA solutions are developed behind the firewall, not in front and the emphasis of such clients was on "Rich Client" not "Rich Internet".

RIA is about aggregated view over disparate systems or having a rich clients ontop of a rich device.  If you were to decompose RIA you would end up with: Rich Client, Rich Device, Rich Web. The weighting however would vary and using the "Internet" is just an aftermarket add-on choice.

Lot's of emotion, little substance is probably what I am concluding about the Adobe Community whom blindly back staffers like Ryan. The usual "Microsoft is evil" style rants are weak and assuming this is all about hijacking a Marketing term that was originally hijacked by its own internal author is humorous at best, yet sad and more to the point limiting.

I stand by my posts in this space armed nothing but experience and belief we *all* can do better.

p.s I wonder if this will boost my Google rankings further? 😀 (I'd prefer rankings to be honest).

Comments (9)
  1. Mike Wolf says:

    I stand by my point in my comments to ryan, and my twitter to you…. I think the essential idea is correct, but lets get real… words are marketing, and that this re-adatping of the word hijacks the discussion, and generally does more to harm the community than benefit it.  This coming from a ms ria developer.

    Silverlight / flex/flash – rich internet appplication (reguardless of behind or infront of the firewall… to the non technical user intranet == internet)

    WPF / Air – rich desktop application

    parent->Rich Client?

    but either way… by hijacking an astablished abreviation it makes the argument kind of dirty…

  2. "Lot’s of emotion, little substance is probably what I am concluding about the Adobe Community whom blindly back staffers like Ryan. The usual "Microsoft is evil" style rants are weak and assuming this is all about hijacking a Marketing term that was originally hijacked by its own internal author is humorous at best, yet sad and more to the point limiting."

    This has nothing to do with "Microsoft is evil" and you know it. You are, somewhat, Ryan’s equivalent in this area. You keep pushing MSRIA and he talks about both. You have swallowed the kool-aid and not looked back though. You give lil’ props to Adobe for their work with the Flash Platform but RAVE about Microsoft’s even when they are lacking in certain areas.

    It is just so odd (and sad) how you seemingly hate on Adobe stuff (hence the Buzzword post, RIA arguments/posts, etc) and rave about MSFT. I bet $1000 if you weren’t at MSFT you would not be embracing Silverlight like it is the best thing since pants with pockets. I’m sure you’d like it but you treat it like it is gold, as you once did Flex (

    Bottom line dude…step back for a sec and just think on it. You push a term Microsoft is attempting to "reinvent" and people who know the word RIA are like…what? It is simple. RIA existed already. Microsoft changed 1 word (and only a few letters at that; lol). Now you treat it like gold. Let some other company (Apple, Adobe, etc) take a MSFT-coined term and change it…you’ll be bashing them for the same thing MSFT is doing now.

    Anyways…I promise I won’t respond to anymore of these RIA vs MSRIA posts or Adobe "bashing" posts (unless you are blatantly wrong). You seemingly have lost your objective views. I’m done trying to reason with you. I’d suggest you let it go too…you’ve been at it for 6 or 7 months. 🙁 *sigh*

  3. Oh, I forgot…you did give some love to AIR the other day so you’re not TOTALLY anti-Adobe. 😉

  4. Garry Trinder says:


    – Comments on previous post had anti-Microsoft behavior associated it first, *actual* points second (I just wish those folks would develop some new material or something as rehashing the same points really do sound …boring?)

    – You and I aren’t sharing a two way dialogue, you seem to talk at me, never with me 🙂

    – You haven’t once outlined what the wording means to you, only how you think or assume Adobe should be the owners / custodians of all that which is RIA going forward. If you’re going to comment, make a stand on what – you – feel passionate about and not so much what you’ve been drip feed into believing.

    – I honestly don’t care what people do with our terms / product names etc (Yet expect me to challenge it whenever it’s been done). When you become a target like Microsoft has been for years on petty squabbles or name calling, you develop a thick skin quite easily.. something our competitors need to mature into.

    – I don’t hate Adobe, a person is never one thing. I dislike things about Microsoft that I love in other competitors. Whom ever believes that a person has to be one brand and only one brand is ignorant. I dislike Adobe AIR and Flex’s product positioning, I however like the technology. Just because I disagree and challenge the marketing behind a technology, doesn’t mean I don’t embrace the technology itself.

    I recall paying my $2k+ to buy the product? am I not entitled as a customer just like you are John?

    – My role is to evangelise Microsoft as a brand/products etc, and from time to time I will engage competiting brands to ensure that what I feel is appropriate perception about Microsoft or such brands are accurately portrayed so that – our – customers can have an informed opinion that isn’t Adobe. Welcome to the market which is Software.

    You assume we are playing some gang-wars or brand-club? this isn’t a game, it’s about real solutions and realistic approaches and feel free to challenge Microsoft on our respective brands. The floor is yours, but could I ask you do it via your own blog 🙂

  5. Garry Trinder says:

    Mike: let’s agree to disagree 🙂 It sounds stubborn but I’ve made a concious decision to use Interactive because I feel it’s semantically correct. The thing is, I’m not after Adobe’s approval on it.

    You yourself indicated just then you appreciate the cocept, but can’t be bothered in reality to change the ways in which it’s being pitched.

    I’m not inclined to let Adobe run the RIA show, I did that, have the scars to prove it and they didn’t do a very good job of it. Time for a change in leadership or newer approach, and given that there is others in the market looking to adopt Interactive indicates it’s just not Microsoft either.

    The assumption is we decided to pick the fight, do the homework you’ll see others are approaching it from this angle. We’ll just be the lightning rod for now on it.

    Scott Barnes

    RIA Evangelist


  6. Don Burnett says:

    I would just say the original term RIA, was originally “Rich Interactive Applications” as far back as 1989, when both Innovatronics CanDo! (for the Amiga) and Silicon Beach’s SuperCard (an improved Hypercard), used the term to describe multimedia authored applications in their own marketing projects.

    Microsoft has used that term since that time to describe their multimedia products and software and services vision/platform that includes non internet enabled applications.

    A Macromedia employee wrote a white paper (some of us know him as Mr. Cold Fusion), that Macromedia and Adobe has taken on as their vision. However they changed it to be Rich Internet Applications. By the change in term, their focus is Internet (the “I” in RIA).

    Microsoft seems to be using the earlier version of the term. Many people in Europe and Asia and people who have done interactive development (such as myself still use the old term, because the new one is more a “marketing change” and the older represents Rich client apps in all mediums, not just internet.

    It’s not a rebranding of a term because it wasn’t “invented” by either company, and I really get disappointed when I hear employees of either company who don’t get the “facts right” on it..

     [SB: I agree 🙂 but you’re asking folks to focus on the point instead of the politics around the point, having a rationale conversation is tough in this instance. For the record, I posted a while back on the history of Rich Interactive Application, based off of chats with Brad Becker]

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

  8. I just finished a blog post by James Ward (by far the best Evangelist Adobe have today) and it was a

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