Yes or No, is Ajax a RIA Technology?

I was reading a
post by Ryan Stewart
, who is my main source of news and information about
anything to do with RIA (Rich Internet Applications). Wikipedia defines
RIA as “web applications that have the features and functionality of
traditional desktop applications.” When I think of RIAs, I usually think of
Adobe’s Flex or Microsoft’s WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). Probably the
most famous example of RIA is Flash. I also regard Ajax as a RIA, because it
enables desktop app-like interactivity. But something Ryan said reminded me that
there is a bit of a disconnect out there on what is a RIA exactly? Ryan wrote:

“I see a couple of big reasons RIAs have become much more popular in
the past few months. One is that a good experience has become a primary
requirement for the web. I don’t really count Ajax as a full RIA technology,
but it has raised the expectation level and made people start to wonder how
much better the web can be.”

Ryan doesn’t see Ajax as a RIA. Perhaps because he has high standards on
what an RIA app should be able to do. Ryan writes more about the topic on
his personal blog
; also see this
post
by Adobe’s John Dowdell from 2005.

We all know Ajax has its limitations – Google is probably the biggest
proponent of Ajax, yet its web apps have been known to cause frustration at
times. I bet every user of Gmail pounds their desk whenever a page refresh
problem arises.

So in order to try and get a consensus about Ajax and RIA, I’ve created a
very simple poll. Please take a minute to tell us whether you think Ajax is a
RIA technology.

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