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2007 was undoubtedly the year of Social Networking, but what of 2008? Will '08 be the year of "Unified Communications" or the year when CMS comes to stand for "Community Management System" - or even "Collaboration Management System"? Or will it be the year of a giga-merger, to beat the mere mega-mergers of 2007? As usual at the end of each year, SYS-CON has been informally polling its globe-girdling network of software developers, industry executives, commentators, investors, writers, and editors. As always, the range and depth of their answers is fascinating, throwing light not just on where the industry is going but also how it's going to get there, why, because of who, within what kind of time-scale. Enjoy! RIAs versus AJAX . Ruby on Rails . PHP . Facebook Competitors  TIM BRAY Director of Web Technologies, Sun Tim Bray managed the Oxford English Dictionary projec... (more)

Who Are The All-Time Heroes of i-Technology?

I wonder how many people, as I did, found themselves thrown into confusion by the death last week of Jean Ichbiah (pictured), inventor of Ada.  Learning that the inventor of a computer programming language is already old enough to have lived 66 years (Ichbiah was 66 when he succumbed to brain cancer) is a little like learning that your 11-year-old daughter has grown up and left home or that the first car you ever bought no longer is legal because it runs on gasoline in an age where all automobiles must run on water. How can something as novel, as new, as a computing language possibly already be so old-fangled that an early practitioner like Ichbiah can already no longer be with us? The thought was so disquieting that it took me immediately back to the last time I wrote about Ichbiah, and indeed about Ada Lovelace for whom his language was named. It was in the context ... (more)

An A to Z for the RIA Era

From AIR to ZK, this is an alphabetical round-up of the fast moving-world of application development tools and frameworks spawned ever since the appearance of Google Maps, the canonical early RIA. The list includes AIR, Appcelerator, ATF, Curl, Dojo, Echo, Eclipse RCP, Ext JS, Flex, Grails, GWT, JavaFX, Kabuki, Nexaweb Enterprise Web 2.0 platform, Novulu, OpenLaszlo, Prototype, Rico, Ruby on Rails, Seam, Silverlight, ThinWire, TIBCO GI, ULC, WaveMaker, Yahoo! User Interface Library, Zend Framework, and ZK. Editorial note: The words used to describe the various solutions are in every case taken from the sites cited, so as ever we encourage developers in every case to "suck it and see" by downloading or otherwise sampling the tool in question for themselves. Omissions should be sent to ria (at) sys-con.com, and we will endeavor to include them in a future revision of t... (more)

AJAX World RIA Conference & Expo Attracts Top Faculty

Rich Internet Applications offer the potential to fundamentally change the user experience and in doing so, yield significant business benefits. The theme of this October's AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008 West is 'Beyond AJAX to the RIA Era' and the Call for Papers, which is still open, specifically encourages submissions from exceptional speakers with high-quality use cases of the fast-emerging RIA alternatives. Call for Papers Now Open - Submit Your Speaking Proposal Here ! The business value of RIAs is very clear: aesthetics do matter and users would like a pleasant experience. Most enterprise applications are based on old client-server technology with high cost of ownership and lack of flexibility. Switching to the Web as a platform for mission-critical applications is very appealing as it lowers the TCO significantly. Industry experts are arguing that enterprises ... (more)

AJAX, RIA, Rich Web Technologies and iPhone Developer Summit Call for Papers Deadline January 25, 2008

Submit Your Speaking Proposal It is a great time to be a front-end engineer! But is it easy yet to make Rich Internet Applications that easily go offline? Are developers better off using an RIA framework, a toolkit or just coding their own AJAX/JavaScript? Will JavaScript 2.0 be a success, or a dud? How can RIA apps be made secure? When will AJAX and RIA development finally be easy? Submissions on these and dozens of other topics have already begun streaming in to AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008 East, being held in New York City on March 18-20, 2008. The Call for Papers is as always a 100% online process, found here. You will find details of tracks at that link too.   iPhone Developer Summit will debut this year, colocated with AJAXWorld and it will be chaired by Kevin Hoffman editor-in-chief of iPhone Developer's Journal. (Remember to select iPhone Track in the pull-d... (more)

Building an iPhone Application with Adobe AIR

A study of the iPhone UI and rebuilding it in AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) using Adobe Flex 3. AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is a cross-operating system runtime that allows developers to use their existing web development skills to build and deploy Rich Internet Applications to the desktop. With the WebControl component in AIR which is powered by WebKit it will allow you to build and test iPhone Applications. Also, I will be showing a component that will give the ability to make and receive calls, record/send and receive voicemail, as well as add and manage contacts. Speaker Bio: Flex developer, information architect, roller hockey goaltender. Joe Johnston has worked with Flash and other interactive tools for over ten years, starting his career at Crowe/Horwath. AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2007 West will take place on September 23-26, 2007, at the Santa Clara Con... (more)

Three RIA Platforms Compared: Adobe Flex, Google Web Toolkit, and OpenLaszlo

Kevin Whinnery's 2.0 A Go-Go Blog The defining characteristic of any RIA is that it has a stateful client that is (or should be) platform and browser independent. With the advent of new RIA platforms like Flex, GWT, and OpenLaszlo, developers now have all the reach of a traditional thin-client web application with many of the useful characteristics of thick-client applications, such as the ability to maintain state on the client. Is there a clear winner of the three, one toolkit that developers should focus on at the expense of the others? I don’t really think so. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. Here  I thought I would dedicate a little web space to throwing in my two cents about what I think those strengths and weaknesses are. Is there a clear winner of the three, one toolkit that developers should focus on at the expense of the others? I don&rsq... (more)

Moving Beyond AJAX: 2008 Is the Decision Year For RIAs

[For an A-Z of RIA Frameworks, from Adobe AIR to Zimbra, click here] Is AJAX fit to serve as spear carrier for next-generation Web technology? That question, asked by the San Diego Business Journal in March 2007, was answered by the sheer scale of the last two AJAXWorld Conference & Expos, in March (New York) and September (Santa Clara). The undisputed answer is "Yes!" So many companies have jumped aboard the AJAX train that when we wanted to do an informal survey the other day on upcoming Web and Internet technology trends, I was able to quickly compile a list of 800 different companies that are leaving the station. AJAX is moving toward the enterprise. Google, the company that helped light the AJAX wildfire in the first place by using it in Google Maps and Gmail, has since then released a paid version of its Web-based applications for small businesses, Google Apps Pr... (more)

Rich Internet Applications vs AJAX: "2008 Will Be A Crucial Year"

While AJAX, as XML co-inventor Tim Bray puts it, "tries to do everything in the browser using just what the browser ships with," RIA frameworks like Adobe AIR, Microsoft Silverlight, and JavaFX aim to take developers beyond the limitations of the browser. "I'm not brave enough to predict who wins," Bray noted in a SYS-CON.com feature earlier in the year, "but I do predict that 2008 will be a crucial year; either RIAs enter the mainstream, or they start to smell like a red herring left in the sun." Bray's predictions came in the feature "Where's AJAX, SOA and Virtualization Headed in 2008?" - which also included predictions from: Joshua Allen, Microsoft; Dr Adam Kolawa, Parasoft; Eric Newcomer, IONA Technologies; Bill Roth, BEA Systems; Brad Abrams, Microsoft; Kevin Hoffman, iPhone Developer's Journal; Ian Thain, Sybase; Yakov Fain, Farata Systems. Bray is Director of ... (more)

AJAXWorld Conference $250 Savings Deadline Expires Friday, August 17

AJAXWorld 2007 West will take place on September 23-26, 2007, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California, and will offer a new dedicated "iPhone Track." Another dedicated track will offer a comparative education opportunity for conference delegates on emerging RIA tools, including a Diamond track on OpenLaszlo and sessions on Microsoft's Silverlight, Adobe's AIR and Sun's JavaFX. Click Here - Discounted Registration Click Here - Sponsor AJAXWorld The world’s leading Rich Internet Applications & Web 2.0 event is expected to attract more than 2,000 i-technology developers. AJAXWorld grew from a single track, one-day seminar, less than a year ago, into a four-day international conference & expo with more than 150 sessions delivered in ten simultaneous tracks, by more than 150 faculty members. Track 01: Rich Internet Applications Track 02: ... (more)

Data Services Made Easy for Adobe Flex Applications

Flex has gotten popular lately because of its rich GUI capabilities. It also comes in handy with HTTPService and Web Service components connecting to back-end servers to fetch and update data. But using this mechanism to talk to the back-end server requires formulating a unique service object from the Flex side, making a request, and getting back data from the back-end either in XML or plain text format. The response data then has to be parsed and fed to the Flex objects to update the UI. For small to medium-size Flex projects it's a viable solution, but for enterprise projects with thousands of external service calls it will get quite repetitive and could result in a lot of unmanageable, buggy code. The approach discussed here provides a more intuitive solution to generate ActionScript classes on the Flex side that are direct counterparts of the enterprise object ... (more)