Current RIA technologies

The people at Backbase are not the only ones busy with building RIA's by pushing current browser technologies (like HTML, CSS and JavaScript) to their limits. There are plenty more out there!

Some use proprietary technologies, like Mozilla's XUL and Microsoft's XAML. Others use Flash as a core technology (Lazlo and Macromedia Flex). Most, however, use JavaScript.

Projects come and go in this neck of the woods. Currently active are Backbase (of course), the Dojo Toolkit project, Bindows and new on my radar is qooxdoo.

qooxdoo is an Open Source (licensed under LGPL) DOM-based javascript toolkit. qooxdoo continue where simple HTML is not enough anymore and this way it can you help to get your rich web application interface done easier than ever.

Qooxdoo is a relatively new project as far as I know and is really starting to mature. It seems to be very widget-oriented from what I can see at the demo page. I've taken a short look at the JavaScript code behind it and I have to say I was impressed. It's OO approach clearly differs from the old DHTML ways and they've even gone so far as to create their own class-extension system (because JavaScript doesn't natively support inheritance):

Function.prototype.extend = function(sFunction,tClassName) {
  if(typeof sFunction! = 'function') {
    throw new Error('Extend:Function/Constructor to extend from is not a function:'+f);
  if(typeof tClassName! = 'string') {
    throw new Error('Extend:Missing or malformed className:'+tClassName);
  proto = this.prototype = new sFunction;
  proto.superclass = sFunction;
  proto.classname = tClassName;
  proto.constructor = this;
  return proto;

In an upcoming post I will compare the different aspects of all these different projects and products and try to give a clear and objective view of their pro's and cons.

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