Wednesday, January 14, 2009

RIA for information deployment

during the last couple of years the requirements to (software) applications changing in many ways:
  • from application to solution
    => customer is able to configure a solution based on provided services and corresponding orchestration and configuration
  • from static deployment to dynamic deployment
    =>customer is able to update a bought component via online connection. new solution feature can be added, configuration can be changed based on demand.
  • from function oriented usage to process oriented usage
    =>the application functions are embedded in business tasks reflecting the business process of different user group. different user groups therefore faced with different application behavior.
not all of the mentioned "trends" are incooperated in each application today but more and more companies providing a subset of the mentioned approaches in their products / solutions. if products changed to solution can be adopted to achieve most value for one particular customer or customer domain the corresponding information (online help, user documentation, service information, faq, ....) must follow this approach as well.

this in particular means that the information must designed to provide
  • size on demand
    each information product can be configured to fit one particular product installation. product configuration can change over time
  • update on demand
    information updates can be provided as fast as possible using "online channels". on the other hand content must be available without any "online channel" available.
  • workflow related content mapping
    information must not only map to a particular function of the product as already done with e.g. context sensitive onine helps. the information must be mapped and aligned with the workflow / buisness process the production customer intent to use the product
if you faced with such productions and you have to contribute any kind of information you know that this those change the way you have to create / maintain and deploy corresponding information products.

if we look into the information deployment process (other part of information lifecycle is part of subsequent blog posts) one of the most interesting answers to this question is the usage of RIA frameworks for that purpose.

most promising application looking at information deployment is "Adobe AIR".
that more the other RIA application can provided today but that does not mean that they do provide the possibility to be a deployment platform for information products in the future (e.g. "Google Gears" has similar goals to Adobe AIR)

next step would be to define a gap analysis which features is missing in Adobe AIR and which buisness goal is therefore not fulfilled based on current available platform. i will do this during the next few weeks...see what the results are.

1 comment:

sum jung gai said...

I would not count out silverlight (>=2.0) for RIA. IMHO it has as much potential as AIR. Why?

- both have an XML based architecture, but Silverlight is more open than AIR and flexible options for back end
- large developer base from VS.NET world. how many actionscript 3.0 developers do you know? and sw engineers that know C#/VB.NET/MC++/other managed language targeting MSIL?
- possibility to leverage already existing managed components and tightly integrate into existing MSFT based back end intrastructures
- SOAP/WS integration into other architectures/infrastructures
- integration with other MSFT technologies (WSS, MOSS anyone?)
- interop with desktop apps already prevalent in the workplace
- open toolkits, APIs, etc.
- support from OSS community (moonlight)
- robust application server (IIS)

Of course, Adobe/AIR has some strengths too:
- flash has a huge market penetration
- AMF seems very efficient
- LiveCycle is cool and tightly integrated with PDF too

Historically, Adobe has a tight connection to publishing (PDF, FM, RoboHelp, etc), but I think in the rich internet app world the user base and richness of the environment certainly give sliverlight some advantage. Ultimately, its a kind of religious war kind of like VHS or beta or mac or PC... Time will tell, I suppose, but I am sticking to my visual studio for now...