Since the early 1990’s to now, large enterprises have been investing in business applications that are more server-based and lighter on the client-side. This made sense from an architecture, maintenance, and deployment perspective – allowing enterprises to rapidly deploy new functionality to a wide user-base instantly.
The most common client-server solutions have been web-based, whereby a user only needs to open the web browser, navigate to a URL, and then login to use their respective business application. A majority of these web-based applications were built with technologies that leverage Server-side pages such as JSPs or ASPs or even PHP. When the user navigates to a URL, the server receives the request assembles the response in HTML, and sends back a whole new page every time.
So, essentially everything runs on the Server. Nothing runs on the client-side web browser. The Server is “smart” and the Client stays “dumb”. Perfect, right? Not quite…
Users have become more demanding of their applications over the last 20 years. They want them to be more interactive, more responsive, and smarter. And most recently, they want them to be more “mobile”.
Unfortunately, the architecture mentioned above doesn’t support these demands very well. A user that is “on the go”, “partially connected”, or requiring interactive visuals – can’t wait for a server somewhere to receive their request, assemble the entire UI, and send it over the wire – every single time they make a click or change something. This old architecture becomes too chatty and heavy for modern networks (especially mobile) to support.
So, there is a major disconnect here. How do you support a rich, interactive, mobile user experience in a cost-effective manner while trying to leverage (and salvage) existing enterprise software assets? Well, glad you asked…
To meet the demands of today’s Enterprise users, Princeton Information has developed a solution and implemented it with many customers in multiple industries.
Adopt… Rich Internet Application (RIA) Frameworks
As a first step in moving towards more interactive business apps, we help our customers evaluate and select an RIA framework that best fits their needs. A key feature of these RIA frameworks is their ability to rapidly prototype the entire user experience at low cost. This speeds up user acceptance and gives business users confidence their apps will look, feel, and perform as expected. Secondly, RIAs are designed to handle the entire user experience without connecting to the server. Efficient, low-bandwidth connections to the server are only made when new data is needed to display or inputted data needs to be saved. Plus, all RIA apps still run in a Web Browser!
Transform… Web Applications into Web Services
As a second step, we convert the server-side pages and components from the legacy web application into brand new Web Services. This allows our customers to leverage their investment and minimize the complexity and risk of rebuilding all of the server-side business logic to accommodate the new user interface. As a bonus, server load is greatly reduced with this new architecture, further improving TCO.
Mobilize… with Speed and Affordability
All RIA frameworks now support today’s favorite mobile platforms such iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. This allows our customers to extend their RIA (as needed) to mobile devices.
Rich Internet Application (RIA) Frameworks, Adobe Flex/HTML5