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Comparison of RIA technologies with standard Internet applications


Traditional Web applications are mainly focused on client / server with a client serving only as a terminal to display or enter data. All requests in the process of using software must be submitted and done on the server. After filling the request the server will automatically send the data back to the client’s computer that displays the contents of the back page. Data loading cause a significant reduction in server load and the effective use of Internet link. Data is collected on a selective basis only in case of a clear demand.
Applications based on the RIA model differ from its predecessors, primarily:
  • eliminate the need for full screen refresh when fetching new data from the Server
  • One-screen presentation of data, which makes all the elements on the screen form a coherent whole and new items appear without having to re-download the data that had already been sent
  • Often characterized by the interface which is enriched with elements of animation and video and much more functionality
It is hard to determine a precise definition that allows, without any doubts, to arrange a given application as the RIA. However, such applications have a characteristic feature in the Web applications.
They introduce an additional kind of software functioning between the server and the final visualization of the client Website. The Client Engine is a useful element in communicating with the Terminal Server Client which is usually taken at the beginning of your session. It functions as an additional browser, which takes over the function of data processing, communications with the server and the presentation of data using the same computing power for the client computer.
RIA Application has more possibilities for interaction with the user.
Applications get more advanced while offering solutions which are not available yet, using standard techniques based on HTML technology.
It allows using of techniques such as "drag and drop" but also implementing of application control modules called "slider" or dynamic tables that permit the sorting the content of any column. Most of the calculation is performed on the client computer, without having to communicate with the server. Sorting takes place in real time, and data verification is controlled all the time. Applications much more quickly respond to users’ needs. No need to re-communicate with the server, users can instantly view most needed data at any time. Thus work with this type of application is more comfortable than it was previously.
RIA Applications need computing resources which are balanced and distributed between the client and server application. This makes it the load server smaller thus allowing the systems to cooperate with more users than that in standard applications.
Using of the RIA model in communication between the client and the server allows the client application to retrieve data from a server without the need for customer interaction with the software. This solution allows speeding up work with the software and reducing the waiting time to a minimum.
Applying this kind of application induce increase in the efficiency of network and software. The use of asynchronous communication significantly reduces the amount of data sent between the client and server. This is because they need only collect the information that they need at the moment, and only those which have not yet received, as opposed to a standard technology, which requires re-upload the entire page. This reduces the waiting time for a response because less data is sent and smaller amounts of data are sent back to the application. Although the use of overly sophisticated techniques to the “prefetching” may reduce the benefits of use of asynchronous communication, such a solution is considered more natural. Every new technology destroys previous setting. RIA Applications unfortunately are not free from defects and limitations. System which uses the RIA model is rooted in the system of web browsers which are called "sandbox". These modules are totally independence from the browser, which increases their universality, but also imposes certain limitations. These types of applications which have limited access to system resources on the client software and which go with it can not gain access to basic resources for their proper functioning.
RIA software is also more dependent on client devices than it was in standard web applications. Slow working hardware may cause difficulties in the operation of the application, make it slower and less functional. Scripts and rich animations interpreted by the client terminal require computing power, which may exceed the hardware capabilities of older computers, client applications. They are downloaded in this kind of applications at the beginning of work with the software, are bigger than standard applications. Although such a transfer is performed only once and is sufficient for comfortable work with the application, the waiting time can often influences the reception of the newly introduced solutions for a system of regular customers, accustomed to instant access to the system since the first call.