Some believe that the “Internet” in “rich Internet application” (RIA) means that RIAs must only run in the browser. However my definition of RIA is not constrained to only web-based applications. RIAs can run anywhere: web, desktop, mobile devices, TVs, or even inside PDFs. Ideally we should have some level of code and library reusability between these environments. However to think that we can reuse the entire application is a pipe dream.
It’s great to see the concept of Portable RIAs beginning to crop up in real world applications. The latest one I’ve seen is on ESPN - allowing the user to check out the latest March Madness updates from within a PDF. Check it out:
Adobe has released Adobe Reader 9.1 for Linux! This is the first 9.x release on Linux and has a number of new features. My personal favorite is the inclusion of Flash Player so that Portable RIAs will work on Linux! Portable RIAs are beginning to catch on more and so it’s great to have true cross-platform support for them.
Update: I’ve posted another Portable RIA demo. The web began as a platform for browsing, finding, and exchanging documents. Over the past ten years the web has moved beyond this document-centric role, and is now a platform for exchanging data. We typically refer to web sites used for data exchange as web applications. The next major evolution of the web is underway as web applications become more interactive and useful. The industry now refers to these next generation web applications as rich Internet applications or RIAs.