Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

Definition – What is the rich internet application

A rich internet application often abbreviated with RIA also known as Rich web application is a web-based application that provides the same features and performance compared to a desktop native application. RIA does not need any software installation like native desktop applications. It completely runs inside a supported browser.

Nowadays most of cases, RIA provides better usabilities and facilities than a traditional desktop application. In general, RIA built with powerful and modern development tools rather than traditional development tools like HTML and CSS only.

Characteristics of RIA

Rich Internet Applications have some unique characteristics that made it different from traditional web applications. RIA works better more than a traditional dynamic website. Some unique characteristics of RIA are:

Offline use:

One of the exciting features of rich internet applications is sometimes you can handle and interact with the web application even when you are offline. In this case, the data you generate while offline, they are stored in the browser’s sandbox. When you are online again, then the data are automatically updated with the server.

Although not all RIA applications have this feature. But it can be added for better performance and user experiences.

Real-time data updating

Unlike static web applications and websites, most of the RIA can change and update data in real-time from the database and other formatted files like XML files without reloading the page. It is a very helpful and reliable feature of rich internet applications.

Partial data updating:

Most of the RIA extract and send data to the server asynchronously, means real-time data exchange without page reloading. And another exciting feature along with this feature is partial data updating. That means RIA can update data partially as it needs of the synced portion of a page. It helps to reduce the loading time and it also consumes the server resources a little than syncing the whole page.

Rich look & feel:

RIA is built with powerful and modern development tools, so it is probable that most of the RIA is highly customized and designed and responsive.

RIA Development tools

Many modern and powerful tools are used to develop rich internet applications. Some of them are:

  • Ajax
  • Adobe Flash
  • Java Applets
  • Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
  • JavaFX
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • XHTML, etc.