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History of RIA

Posted by Sravan | September 25, 2008 .

The history of RIAs has been at the back of my mind for quite sometime now. I was hoping to learn a little about it and share it with you, but I failed miserably. I confess that my quests have only been shallow googlings. The inane investigation invariably raised another associated curiosity: History of the Internet. Now, that is admirable. I realized that I started using the Internet during the 1996-97 explosion. Mankind sees a number of marvellous technologies, but there are only a handful of them that affect our lives every day.

Coming back, an excuse I can come up with is that RIAs are still in their emerging phase and it might be another couple of years before authors start typing text-books where the preface or the introduction chapters give its brief history. For now, all we have is the history section of the RIA wiki article.

But I remember reading somewhere that circa 2003, Microsoft’s Avalon (erstwhile codename for Windows Presentation Foundation) was one of the first in this space. What is more interesting is that the open-source project OpenLaszlo had been a trend-setter.

Could any of you kindly help me in this quest? Share the first time you’ve come across RIAs, perhaps?

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4 Comments so far
  1. Aral Balkan  September 25, 2008 3:19 pm

    We worked on a virtual school called K12 in 2000, with Branden Hall and Charlie Cordova — in Flash 5. I’m pretty sure that was the first real RIA with scheduling, tests, and lessons delivered through the same interface. It tooks kids from Kindergarden to Grade 12 and they got a diploma at the end (and it looks like it’s still going strong: http://k12.com/) :)

  2. Tom Van den Eynde  September 26, 2008 3:02 am

    I was product manager of Carels.Virtual Client Studio in 2001. With this tool you could design XML based user interfaces and interactions that were rendered through the Adobe Flash player. I remember that someone from Macromedia actually downloaded our tool but we never got feedback from them. One day I hope to run into this Adobian. The ‘problem’ with this tool was that it didn’t have a full blown programming language and companies weren’t ready yet for RIA (and most of them today still don’t seem to be ready…).

    More info on http://products.datamation.com/development/sd/1004781294.html

  3. Sravan  September 27, 2008 8:26 am

    That’s awesome, guys.

    Aral, I’ll take a look at that site sometime and review it, maybe. :-)

    Good luck with meeting the Adobian, Tom. Hope he or she hasn’t turned into an Android yet.

  4. Ryan Phelan  September 29, 2008 8:39 am

    Given that Java was introduced a year before Flash, and Flash was pretty much just an animation tool for the first few generations, I would think that there were Java RIAs long before there were Flash RIAs. Yakov Fain mentioned them existing as early as 1995 although he doesn’t give any specific examples: http://flexblog.faratasystems.com/?p=112.

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