Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Revolution Live '08 - redefining the web

Now that I'm back home, caught up on sleep a bit and am starting the happy-fun return of my internal body clock to the Central European Time Zone, it seemed like a good opportunity to blog about the announcements at the Revolution Live Conference.

The great news for Revolution customers around the globe, is that their web offerings are shaping up really well: a PHP-style server module for creating web applications, plus a web browser plug-in - talk about a slam-dunk by the Runrev team! 
This is the perfect answer to Adobe's trying to bring Flash to the desktop: anyone can now build Internet-enabled applications without having to struggle with ActionScript and tools that were meant for designers. Not that designers are illogical people - if they were clueless about putting two and two together, they wouldn't be able to pull off that AJAX stuff. 

Boy, am I glad I won't have to continue struggling with that HTML+CSS+JavaScript batter mix either, if I want to build a Rich Internet Application... Let's check how Revolution stacks up against all these technologies that are trying to win the next round of browser wars:
  • AJAX is an interesting use of existing technologies, but in the end it's just another way to stretch what a browser can do. The fact of the matter is: the browser needs updating for it to ever become a true universal application platform.
  • Flash started life as a way to animate vector graphics, and whatever people may tell you, that's still what it is - they don't even have real buttons, it's all simulated. Thank you, please don't come again.
  • JavaFX is an interesting idea, but suffers from one major flaw: it is not Java. Which means that Java developers have to learn a whole new thing just to be with the times. If they really wanted it to become popular, they would have just provided a great applet builder, not this monstrosity.
  • Silverlight is Microsoft's attempt to beat Adobe in the browser plug-in wars. So far, it doesn't really seem to be getting very far. Maybe around version 3.0 we can consider it a major force, but I'm sure that you'll have to update your Silverlight apps every single time the Redmond team decides to replace essential parts.
Some people may think that Revolution is focusing entirely on the multimedia market with this strategy, but they couldn't be further from the truth: this is the single largest opportunity in the history of Revolution to make it big in the world of Enterprise applications!
Of course, there will be plenty of multimedia Flash-like stuff built using this browser plug-in, and it should attract a whole new crowd of Revolution developers. But looking at the biz app developers now, Revolution is by far the most secure technology of the bunch: short of obfuscating your Javascript, your AJAX apps are wide-open for anyone to take apart and try to take advantage of.

The Revolution community can now deploy applications for those customers who want to see a browser user interface, and we won't even have to learn a new language. Likewise, the server module will serve as an application server gateway like we haven't had before.
And I can assure you that existing and future Quartam tools will help you get to the bottom of things: use the server module and Quartam PDF Library to dynamically generate documents for your web applications; and once Quartam Reports hits version 2.0, you'll be able to leverage this report generation tool on the browser platform as well.

Good times...

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