RIA (the acronym) has jumped the shark. I find that I can no longer use RIA to describe anything anymore. The definition has been watered down and twisted to the point that nearly any application can be called RIA.
I first noticed this trend last year. Adobe and Microsoft evangelists started ping-pong blogging about what RIA meant. Scott Barnes of Microsoft even went so far as to redefine the acronym, from “Rich Internet Application” to “Rich Interactive Application“. That, along with some other “we can be better than the Web” posts caused Dare Obasanjo to create a great post: If you Fight the Web, You Will Lose. I also liked Anil Dash’s “ice cubes in water” analogy. I can see why Microsoft is pushing Interactive and not Internet, which would necessitate making Internet applications.
Fast forward to the present and Ryan Stewart’s post on the ever changing definition of RIA:
Let’s first bite off the question of what desktop applications constitute RIAs
None. RIA isn’t about desktop applications
I think things like Mozilla Prism, Adobe AIR, Curl Nitro, and Microsoft WPF are all examples of desktop RIAs.
Desktop RIA? WPF? WTF? Sounds like an oxymoron to me
In general, I think RIAs as a whole should be:
* Using web technologies
Wait for it. He’s softening you up for what’s next.
I also think that the best RIA platforms should have:
* A good designer/developer workflow story
* At a technical level business logic and user interface should be very cleanly separated so that the UI can easily be enhanced.
I fail to see how these relate to RIA, but I do see how it relates to Adobe products. Adobe products that “use web technologies”, but not the web itself. Maybe RIA means “Really, It’s Adobe”
It’s no wonder people are confused by RIA discussions. I think I’ll stick with web applications from here on out. RIP RIA.