Rich Internet Applications:
: A comparison of two technologies that can be used for their development

  • Geraint Huw Davies

Traethawd ymchwil myfyriwr: Traethawd Ymchwil MeistrMeistr yn y Gwyddorau


Through this project I aim to identify and articulate the relative capabilities of two technologies (Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight) in their support for the development of Rich Internet Applications.
Chapters 2 to 7 provide what is essentially background or supporting information for the key comparisons that I make in Chapters 8 to 12 (Note: Chapter 5 provides the key ideas that were encompassed in my original proposal together with supporting addenda). The later chapters each contain sub-sections in which I compare the two technologies with respect to the specific findings that I relate in those chapters. The overall conclusions which bring these all together are detailed in Chapter 13, with a critical evaluation of my work appearing in Chapter 14. Underpinning the investigation are two applications which I have developed in order to both assist my investigations and to use where necessary to demonstrate my conclusions and assertions.
Whilst not being able to address all of the aspects of the project that I had originally wished to, let alone all the facilities that the two technologies support, I believe that this project shows that there are enough differences between them such that for those parties who have yet to make any financial, intellectual or needs-driven commitment to either, careful consideration of their relative capabilities should be taken. Within this, I also contend that there is a philosophical difference between the two technologies, i.e. that Microsoft is aiming its Silverlight offering towards web designers, and Adobe’s target for Flex is the application developer, and that this drive by both companies to poach a share of the market traditionally seen as the province of the other has resulted in some interesting differences between the implementations of their respective product platforms.
Through a demonstration of the results of my investigations I conclude that, all other external factors being equal, the Adobe Flex / Flex Builder 3 approach is overall more comprehensive, efficient and therefore I believe productive. However, with the exception of two very key issues (i.e. The lack of formal support by Adobe for an implementation of multi-scale image technology and problems with running Silverlight applications on Linux / Unix-based systems), I also conclude that the differences I have identified and have declared as important from my perspective could well be outweighed by other issues that are specifically pertinent to another individual, organisation or academic institution.
I also conclude that whilst I believe my arguments are sound in respect of the factors and criteria investigated, I also acknowledge that further work may identify other differences that may be influential. In addition, both Microsoft and Adobe announced beta release developments of their respective products during the course of this project and although I took the, what I believe was justifiable, decision not to include them in my investigations (primarily for technical reasons), I must also acknowledge that it is possible that some of these developments may highlight a divergence (or desirable convergence) between the two technologies in one or more important measures
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  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth
GoruchwyliwrChris Loftus (Goruchwylydd)

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