Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What technology a web developer need to know?

I think I am a techie at heart (much like Steve Wozniak, be a techie for life), at least of the software programming side. Always looking for the next cool framework with a WOW factor, and also to know there is a world outside Microsoft ASP.NET and Java. I was once quite impressed with Java's Spring, Hibernate and Struts, and also .NET's Web Client Software Factory (WCSF) and Enterprise Library.

Now I really like scripting language and MVC-like framework such as Ruby on Rail (RoR) and perhaps CakePHP (similar rail framework, suitable for existing PHP developer) for it's speed of development.

What else impressed me as a web developer? Yes, jQuery the javascript library. Maybe prototype as well, but I got a feeling jQuery might win the war. The javascript library actually make javascript usable on most platform, a lot easier and more powerful. Ahh! AJAX, so simple yet with some much usability.

What next? Something called Rich Internet Application (RIA), something more interactive than AJAX, an application on your browser, something like flash but with more power to the developer. The two competitor around is Microsoft .NET Silverlight and Abobe AIR. I trust Microsoft’s developer tool such as Visual Studio, with a good language such as C# and strong developer support. Abobe AIR (with Flash & Javascript) is really a surprise. I never quite like development on flash using ActionScript and Timeline, but it is the most popular RIA around (with good support from the designer & art community). The good news is they have something called FLEX, with Eclipse (good!) as the IDE.

Personally I think Silverlight is not ready for big time yet, but it does have a lot of potential (with Microsoft + VS + .NET + Developer Support). Adobe AIR (or rather Flash) had a head start, and ready for deployment sooner than Silverlight. If the support for development is really good, Adobe AIR could really come up as a surprised winner. BTW, Adobe AIR could be run as a desktop application as well. I like the idea of scripting, only if it’s a powerful and easy to use scripting language.

The problem with RIA is that it’s not search engine friendly (meaning search engine can’t read your content, which is really bad for web traffic). Maybe it is not meant for a community portal or online content, but rather an online application which serve a specific purpose. Perhaps an online accounting software or online leave tracking system or ticket booking. Do you think there is an opportunity to win by technology used?

There is Google Gears as well, to build an offline web application (maybe Google Desktop use this).

So much technologies, so much possibilities, so little time. I am into RIA at the moment, I kinda know what silverlight has to offer, and I am very curious about what Adobe AIR had under its sleeve. I need more TIME!

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