Tuesday, February 17, 2009

RIAsults may vary

Well here goes yet another foray by a wayward web developer. Another RIA blog, you ask? There's already so many! I figured I could add my two cents worth and maybe from another perspective.

I've always been a Microsoft weenie. Like I always tell people, "Bill Gates has earned me a paycheck for many years now." I cut my teeth a LONG time ago on dBase and other micro applications but quickly went over to the now defunct FoxPro. Since then I've never looked back, reading the tea leaves and converting to Visual Basic 5/6, then on to .NET as soon as it was available. Somehow I gravitated towards ASP.NET instead of fat client and have been working in the web world for years.

Silverlight really got me thinking about the next stage of RIA development and how we could implement better applications inside and outside of my organization. The whole place seems to want web apps to do everything - no deployment headaches and fat client acceptance testing. But the bubble was about to burst on my Silverlight adventure.

Being in a large organization (almost 6,000 people) we have almost every type of machine and OS conceivable (kudos to our IT staff for trying to handle all of this!). My team has been tasked to create an application to let photographers handle photos and their requisite metadata better. Silverlight's up to the task and is probably the best option, I thought.

So I called one of the photographers and walked him through the Silverlight goodness. "Go to Hard Rock and look at their memorabilia collection," I asked him. "It won't install," he said. Come to find out, he's got a PowerPC Mac powerhouse and won't be switching anytime soon. Knocks Silverlight right out of contention. So now what?

When I started looking at Adobe products, Flex looked nice. Runs on everything pretty much, Actionscript looks sort of like C#, markup resembles XAML. What's not to like?

So ride along with me as my team and I figure this all out and make the switch. We'll be working with WCF, maybe some WF, SQL - the whole nine yards. I want to post information and goodness to share with all the rest of my dev colleagues and maybe pick up some good tips from others along the way!

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