TIBCO Releases Ajax-based RIA Development Solution
- By John K. Waters
Is the World Wide Web evolving from a collection of Web sites into a full-fledged
computing platform—the so-called Web 2.0? The recent resurgence of interest
in Ajax is one for the Web-as-a-platform-model column.
deliver Web pages that function and feel more like desktop applications. Google
put Ajax back on the buzzword list with its Google Maps site.
A number of Web browsers now support Ajax, including Microsoft Internet Explorer,
Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Konqueror and Apple Safari.
“Ajax is really a description of the capabilities of today’s browsers,"
says Kevin Hakman, director of product marketing at TIBCO Software. “Internet
Explorer had these capabilities as far back as 1999, but with Firefox adding
them recently, and highly visible things like Google Maps, we’ve seen
a resurgence of interest in this technology. The same technology that Google
is taking advantage of in the browser, we’ve been leveraging for enterprise-grade
applications since 2001.”
Last year, TIBCO bought General Interface, a supplier of rich-client software
for running composite applications in a browser window. TIBCO has since used
General Interface's Ajax technology to position itself at the gates of the Web
This week, TIBCO is releasing the latest version of its Ajax-based rich Internet
application (RIA) development solution, General Interface 3.0.
The new version includes the TIBCO General Interface Framework and the General
Interface Builder, which is designed to allow developers to deliver highly interactive,
feature-rich, Web-based applications that run in a standard Web browser. This
thin-client approach is meant to eliminate the need for client-side software
installation, end-user plug-ins, ActiveX controls or Java applets, Hakman says.
New features in version 3.0 include:
- New reusable GUI components, including a client-side charting package, editable
grids, and type-ahead combo boxes, among others
- Enhancements throughout the author-time environment tools, such as hot keys
and code completion utilities
- A new visual binding tool for document-literal SOAP messaging
RIAs are something of a cross between Web apps and desktop apps. In a recent
white paper, "Management Update: Rich Internet Applications are the Next
Evolution of the Web," Gartner analysts Mark Driver, Ray Valdes and Gene
Phifer write that RIAs, by combining the best elements of the traditional fat-but-rich
client/server model and the thin-but-poor Web-based model, will enable the Web
to evolve beyond the page-based, document-centric metaphor commonly associated
with the browser approach."
Hakman sees RIAs as part of the ongoing shift toward service-oriented architectures.
“The idea of rich Internet applications is quite synergistic with this
Web 2.0 evolution that’s taking us toward service-oriented architectures,”
Hakman says. “SOA is the back-end trend, and RIA is the front-end trend,
but they create multiplier effect leverage off of each other.”
Gartner's Driver has predicted that by 2010 more than 60 percent of new application
development will include an RIA component, and 25 percent will be exclusively
TIBCO General Interface 3.0 is now available for enterprises, solution developers
and ISVs interested in large-scale commercial deployments. A professional edition
of the TIBCO General Interface 3.0 designed to address the needs of smaller-scale
deployments will be available for purchase by year end. General Interface 3.0
currently provides browser support for Microsoft Internet Explorer. API support
for Firefox and Mozilla Web browsers is planned for future releases.
More information is available at TIBCO.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached