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ActiveX/COM - Applets/Servlets - Flash/?  Rich Internet Apps

What is your experience?

I want to develop without using Session variables and create a rich experience.

I want something secure.

Also, my background is actually in C# Visual Studio.NET - I enjoy that kind of development environment.  I also like what I see in JSF. 

I'd really like to development something that can be run anywhere, however, I don't want to lose 2 years of my life learning about wx this and gtk that.

Documentation on par with MSDN is a plus.

I'm sure I'll get lots of opinions - and that is ok.

I see this stuff on XUL and also on Avalon - that is interesting, maybe that is the direction I should focus on.

I'm not so hot into flash, but would learn it if it solved this problem.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Let me add  the idea of 'code behind' is why I use C#

I don't like spaghetti code
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
ActiveX/COM is "ok" but then you're not writing a web application, you are writing a desktop application that runs in (and only in) Internet Explorer that is downloaded automatically from a remote site.  Probably it would be more straight forward to just avoid ActiveX and build a separately installable desktop client.

But since you want it to "run anywhere" then ActiveX is out.  XUL and Avalon are also both out for the same reason.  Also neither of those technologies is ready from primetime anyway so unless you want to be on the bleeding edge you're basically out of luck.

Since you don't like spegetti code, you probably don't want to touch Flash with a ten foot poll.  Flash is a powerful environment but it wasn't designed for building large applications and you'll constantly run into spegetti-code like issues.

So what does that leave?  Well nothing but plain old DHTML!  Things have been looking up for building Rich Internet applications in DHTML lately.  Check out Google maps, or Google suggest.  I've seen plenty of other very desktop-application-like rich applications that use a variety of (now pretty standard) techniques like xmlHttpRequest and DOM/CSS manipulation.
Almost Anonymous Send private email
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Personally I hate using flash as anything other than eye candy.  It greatly increases the number of skills required to maintain a site and is all for naught if someone loses the original file.

Going with the AJAX model - ugh, I hate that name - is probably going to be the most cross-browser compatible and provide the most robust/real-time acting application.

About a year ago, I was working on a Timesheet app for my last company.  I used the AJAX model and was able to provide real-time validation of data, lookups, and some intelligent form fill-ins.  The entire time I kept the app 100% Firefox and IE compliant.

As long as you know the pitfalls (document.all for example), you can stay away from them pretty easily.
KC Send private email
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I see you make mention of C#.

I'm impressed with this sort of technology for a rich internet app:

This callback technology will also be a bigger part of VS 2005.

I personally like this direction as it blends the client and server side technologies.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Are you talking about a "rich" web application?

Or about an internet application with rich clients?  I.e., a setup where users run special program with rich "desktop-app" interface that accesses centralized data through a server on the internet.

If the latter then you can check into .NET remoting, which is built for that sort of setup.  And/or into using a library that's meant to make .NET remoting simpler to use, like:{61C37C12-5E9F-4284-9659-F3E2AF8132F4}
Herbert Sitz Send private email
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I mean web application that have rich user interfaces.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
For webpps - AJAX is the choice.
Sassy Send private email
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I might help if you gave us a bit more specific information about your goals than "rich web applications". For certain kinds of interaction, you want XUL, Java Web Start or Avalon. For some others Ajax or Flash will do, and so on.

Also, there is no such thing as "run anywhere". You'll have to exlude some enviroments, but how many of them and which is something you can decide with your choice of technology (Ajax, Java, ...) and implementation of the said technology (degrade gracefully or not).

And finally, what is your target audience and the context of use for the application? Public Internet, intranet, extranet? Private persons, companies, public offices? How much control do the ones who do the purchasing have over the actual end users' enviroments?
Aapo Laitinen Send private email
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Thanks AJAX looks interesting.
Thursday, April 14, 2005

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