What is RIA?
Posted by - NA - on 19 November 2008 06:18 PM

Rich Internet Applications (RIA), also referred to as Rich Web Clients, Rich Web Applications, Rich Client Applications, are web applications that have the features and functionality of traditional desktop applications. RIAs is typically a stateful client application with a separate services layer on the server. RIAs typically run in a web browser, and do not require software installation.

Compared with traditional web applications, RIAs have the following advantages:

1. Rich UI. Because the user interaction is subject of the client side, the application functionality may include anything that could have been implemented in a desktop application, including drag and drop, using a slider to change data, smoothing, transparency and so on.

2. Short response time. Because the browser doesn’t need to interact with the server on every operation, the RIA is usually much more responsive than standard web applications that call for a new page every time they need something new.

3. Web-server relief. Unlike with traditional web applications, the RIA’s client side takes the lion’s share of computing tasks, and so frees the server resources for other tasks. This allows the server to serve more client sessions at the same time, and the whole “computing” balance is better distributed through the net.

4. Asynchronous interaction. While usual web applications have to wait for the user to perform an interface action such as clicking a button, RIA can interact with the server in the background, i.e. asynchronously. Because of this RIA developers can move data between client side and the server without making the user wait, and thus create the illusion of a desktop application.

5. Network traffic reduction. RIA’s client side is usually able to decide what data it need from the server to perform an action, so it can only request the part of data that is actually needed in each interaction. So the overall network load is reduced.

RadarCube ASP.NET RIA brings all these points to life using the Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. This gives the developers ability to make full-blown, protected OLAP web applications, which can hardly be distinguished in functionality from usual desktop applications. Here is the whole technique shown in a picture.

The most thrilling thing is that all RadarCube ASP.NET users can migrate to the RIA components without any hard changes in the existing code! Please see here for details on migration.

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