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The Best Technologies in 2007

  • January 15, 2008
  • By Bradley L. Jones
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RIA

RIA stands simply for Rich Internet Applications. Macromedia started using the term RIA several years ago in relation to the Flash and FLEX products. It has since become a generic term that applies to creating web sites that provide functionality similar to desktop applications. As mentioned with AJAX, this can include things like full-fledged, dynamic controls to features such as dragging and dropping without the need for screen refreshes. It is not surprising that AJAX is used to create a lot of RIAs, nor is it surprising that a lot of Web 2.0 sites also implement RIA interfaces.

SOA

The first three technologies I've mentioned have heavily overlapped. SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) may initially seem like it is independent of the others; however, that is not fully true.

SOA is about architecting. It is about breaking a system, process, or application into pieces that can be called or used by other pieces. These pieces center on business processes, and they are presented in a way that they can provide a service to other processes. These services can be distributed on a computer, across a network, or across Ihe internet. Often times, the term Web Services is used to describe SOA components that are made available on the Web.

The concept of SOA is simply a continued evolution of design and architecting concepts that have come before. This includes an evolution from object orientation to component based development to now service based development.

Semantic Web

The topic that is the likely to be the least familiar to the most people is Semantic Web. The Semantic Web is often referred to as Web 3.0. Although many people believe the concepts behind the Semantic Web are solid, most agree that it is not likely the next big thing on the web. In 2007, however, several technologies began to solidify to allow Semantic constructs to be added to web sites. This has given it more exposure and thus has helped to move it a bit out of academia to the main stream.

Semantic Web is about giving context and meaning to data. It works to help resolve the confusion that can occur between like-named items as well as helps to draw relationships between data. For example, if you were asked to search for an Orange on the web, you could. However, you would be searching for all Oranges, not just the company, the bike, or the fruit. The Semantic Web works to allow you to refine such a search to find the references to oranges that are a bike versus those that are something else.

The Semantic Web also works to provide more meaning to data. For example, if you search for a person, he is easy to find. It becomes more difficult to then find related information about that person. The Semantic Web works to provide such data relationships. For example, if you Find a person, you should then be able to find other information related to that person. For example, if you found Bradley Jones, you should then be able to find those things on the web associated with me, including the books I've published, the demographic information I've posted, and who my neighbors are.

The Semantic Web is all about giving meaning to data and about drawing relationships to data. With the magnitude of data on the Web, such context is needed. As such, it is no surprise that the Semantic Web made it as a finalist; however, it is also no surprise that it didn't win against other technologies such as RIA, AJAX, and SOA.

In Conclusion

Over the coming months, all of these terms are expected to continue to have prominence in the industry. Just as terms like HTML and XML have become more commonplace, some of these leading buzz terms being used today will also become less hyped. Will that happen in 2008? If so, you can expect new terms and technologies to take their place! In the mean time, it will be interesting to see whether AJAX can hold on to become a finalist and winner for the fourth time at the end of this year.

References

1 Web 2.0 Heroes by Bradley L. Jones, Wiley Publishing, ISBN: 978-0470241998

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