Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Get Rich and Fit: RIA Inside the Firewall

uniPaaS provides a comprehensive solution for Rich Client applications, sometimes referred to in the industry as Rich Internet Applications (RIA). While many assume that all the advantages of a RIA application stem from the benefits or need for remote application access, there are actually numerous reasons to consider RIA, or perhaps a better term, Rich Client applications, even when they will be running entirely within your own firewall on a Local Area Network (LAN).

uniPaaS is a platform for developing and deploying rich business applications serving n-tiered users based on Internet protocols. While the rich client approach uses standard internet protocols, this does not necessarily imply that application users are outside the firewall. In fact, uniPaaS RIA does not utilize Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome but instead provides its own secure client to the user.

uniPaaS Rich Client Applications may be accessed securely, provide a fully interactive experience, and allow for automatic logic partitioning between clients and servers. User experiences are enhanced through an enhanced look and feel and accessibility of client-side resources in a browser free solution.

Developers benefit from a single unified IDE and development paradigm, performance-aware optimization during development and automated management of partitioning, communication and technical layers.

The resulting reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) occurs because: there is no need for application-specific setups to access and run a Rich Client application; there is no need to manage the end-user's machine to accommodate application maintenance; and there is no need to install client-side software, such as Database-client and special printer drivers. Citrix servers are not needed to support RIA applications which can result in extensive long term cost savings.

Enhanced Interactivity and GUI. Rich client applications benefit from superior graphical and media capabilities as well as enhanced interactivity. This includes the ability to transfer and use files and resources from either the client or server. This enhanced document architecture enables superior enterprise content management and links between core enterprise applications and client side documents including knowledge worker productivity documents such as Word, Excel, PDF and other formats.

Enhanced Developer Productivity through Composite Applications Approach. With uniPaaS RIA, third-party .NET controls and assemblies can be used as the building blocks of applications. This reduces development time dramatically and provides access to enhanced, standards-based GUI experiences for users. Ability to incorporate standard controls enhances the openness of the , improves the user experience and reduces development time.

Fit Client. The Rich Client deployment mode allows for Server-Side Functions; Client-Side functions and Functions that can be executed on either the client or the server. Furthermore, RIA applications make better use of available computing resources. The Rich Client is neither a fat client nor a thin client. Through partitioning, you have what may be called a fit client, meaning that application functions may be executed on either the client side or server side. uniPaaS supports expressions on either the client-side or server-side. Developer functions are also supported on either client side or server side. This reduces the processing and memory utilization load on both the server and the client, and in the long-term makes for a lower cost , more energy efficient computing environment.

Parallel Execution. Several Rich Client programs can run simultaneously by using the Parallel Execution task property. For example, one program for employee management, and another for finance, all from a single entry point, without having to repeat authentication for each parallel program. Rich Client also supports MDI (Multiple Document Interface).

Mobile Application Support. Developing mobile applications with uniPaaS is based on uniPaaS RIA. The main difference between regular RIA and Mobile RIA is the consideration of the mobile devices’ view area and the expected user experience, such as touch screen and styles, and the deployment methodology. The RC Deployment wizard of the uniPaaS Studio simplifies Mobile deployment.

Hot Fixes and Updates. With Rich Client, the deployed uniPaaS application can be updated without the need to stop the application and log out all users. Known as “hot fixes” in the industry, this capability allows you to deploy your updates and fixes in a live environment.

Security. The Rich Client environment also has the advantage of reducing security administration and overhead. In a client server environment, there are risks associated with providing client access to servers. RIA applications interact at arm’s length and use secure encrypted communications and transport throughout.

Glenn Johnson is a Senior Vice President at Magic Software Enterprises, Inc. Active in the software industry since 1984, he frequently speaks at industry conferences and writes for numerous publications.