I'm getting increasingly curious about this duality between web applications (web-apps) and rich internet applications (RIA): more and more I see advertisements of computer softwares which have purportedly switched from web-app to ria.
What I'm curious about is how valid their points in favor of RIA are because to me most seem overly speculated or assumed right a priori. I cite the most interesting points I found:
- RIAs have a richer and more functional interface than web apps
- RIAs have a quicker interface than web apps
- RIAs can use local CPU resources and not bog down the server
- RIAs can use local hardware (disks, scanners, barcode readers, rfid, measuring instruments etc etc)
Their final thesis is that web-apps are generally good in these situations:
- generic applications where the user is unknown and will use the system probably only once or not very often to do a quick simple job, eg: home banking, online shopping etc
While RIAs are good when:
- The user is an expert user trained to operate a specific application for hours each day and needs quick and immediate response from the application, eg: ERP systems
Now I'll clarify my doubts for each of the above points:
- Web browsers are increasingly fast and so are computers, I strongly feel this purported slowness of browsers is a wrong personal perception. HTML5 applications have shown to be slower than native ones but researchers are already developing a definitive faster HTML5 specification. Whatever the status of things is I strongly doubt browser won't become the fastest and most optimized applications around.
- Local hardware use is to me again a speculation on the current status of things which are already changing: most devices for instance are switching to network enabled devices like printers, rfid readers etc. Barcode readers are nothing more than keyboard-like devices and as such can work well with browsers. WebRTC is even making possible to use cameras and video conference streams via browser without any software other than the browser! I think that's a clear point on where the directions is going.
Can someone tell me whether points 1,2,3,4 are valid or in which way the answer to each point "depends" on further arguments.