Rich internet application

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Rich Internet applications (RIA) are web applications that have the features and functionality of traditional desktop applications. RIAs typically transfer the processing necessary for the user interface to the Web client but keep the bulk of the data (i.e., maintaining the state of the program, the data etc) back on the application server. (Wikipedia,, retrieved 12:36, 27 April 2007 (MEST))

Technology and examples


"Core" web 2.0
  • AJAX (Javascript + HTML + CSS + HTTP + XMLHTTPRequest calls). There are a number of available development frameworks
  • Some server-side technology (same as for any web application)
  • web widget technology (APIs to integrate web applications into an organizing "page")
Plugins / webstart applications
  • Java applets or Java webstart applications
  • Flash + tools like Adobe Flex/Flash builder and ColdFusion
Browser extension technologies
  • XUL (only works with Mozilla-based browsers).
  • ActiveX Controls (only works with IE)

See browser extension


Ria categories


(just some, rather look up categories above)

Specifically for education (in this wiki)
Other places to visit

In education

Rich internet applications have a lot of potential, in particular for "classroom education" since it frees the teacher from administrative redtape and the organization from installation and maintenance. See e-learning 2.0.

Software for development

There are different kinds of development sofware. Basically, all you need is knowledge of server-side and client-side scripting (e.g. PHP and DHTML). Client-side rendering can be done with any dynamic format (XHTML, SVG, SMIL, Flash, Java, etc.)

But there exist various frameworks to develop RIAs much faster, e.g here is very incomplete list:

Java client-side
  • Java applets and web start applications
  • Server-side can be anything, but many Java developers also use Java technology
Flash client-side and optionally Adobe server-side technology
Microsoft's new "Internet foundation framework"
Browser embedded
  • Some webbrowsers, e.g. Firefox (XUL) and Opera offer extension frameworks.
  • More stuff needed ....

Links and references