A battle royale for RIA market
April 15, 2009 —
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Related Search Term(s): RIA
Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the RIA Theatre for this evening’s heavyweight main event!
In the red corner, hailing from the land of Macromedia, weighing in at five years on the market and packing the punch of the Flash platform: Adobe Flex!
In the silver corner, fresh off a 3.0 release in the halls of Las Vegas at MIX09, crafted by the hands of mighty Microsoft and trained in the ways of .NET: Microsoft Silverlight!
And in the yellow corner, the new kid on the block with a December 1.0 release, but no less able to deliver complex application knockouts, the Sultan of Sun: JavaFX!
The rich Internet application (RIA) market is a three-man fight, with Flex, JavaFX and Silverlight all looking to jab their way into developers’ hearts with a steady stream of new features and capabilities. According StatOwl, a provider of statistical analysis and market research on the Internet usage, the Flash platform had 96.69% of global market penetration in RIA usage in February, while the Java browser plug-in JVMs had 81.4% and Silverlight had 21.58%.
Those figures were an ever-so-slight dip for the Flash platform and a relatively big gain for Silverlight; in September 2008, Flash had 97.39%, compared to Java’s 81.31% and Silverlight’s 17.63%.
While there are many similarities between the three platforms, and experienced developers can likely churn up eye-catching, rich applications with any of them, there are also differences that can factor into which platform a developer will choose.
Many developers have stated that different skill sets and familiarity with different programming languages will aid RIA builders in mastering their respective platforms. Rockford Lhotka, principal technology evangelist for Minnesota-based IT consulting firm Magenic, said that developers with C# or Python programming expertise and experience with WPF applications, for instance, have a head start when using Silverlight. Many Flex developers, meanwhile, said that a background in Java can be helpful when learning Flex’s ActionScript language because the languages have similar object-oriented characteristics.
Dave Meeker, user experience strategy lead for RIA development company Roundarch, agreed with the notion that developers with specific programming skills will gravitate toward a certain platform. Developers knowledgeable in Java have gone the Flex route. One of the intentions behind Flex was to cater to developers that have built Web applications in Java and JavaServer Pages, Meeker said.