There are hundreds of criteria for evaluating RIA and AJAX products. So many that it’s easy to lose focus and misjudge priorities. This essay proposes a decision tree that leads through an evaluation process. It asks for the most distinctive requirements and product features in a top-down sequence, discussing the essential differences between technology options.
Figure 1: Decision Tree
Simple User Interface?
The first and most important question to ask is whether the user interface (UI) of your application is simple enough for HTML. If the answer is yes, then HTML is your best option because it enables ubiquitous end user access via browser.
Simple enough for HTML means that the UI has modest interactivity requirements. However, if any of the following features improves your UI, you should consider RIA technology:
Ubiquity, Industrial Strength, or Fancy Animations?
Figure 2: RIA Technology Subtree
Browsers and OS supported?
IE 6.0+ on Windows
Firefox 0.8+ on Windows, Mac, Linux
Safari 1.2.4+ on Mac (Google Suggest 1.2.2 or newer)
Netscape 7.1+ on Windows, Mac, Linux
Mozilla 1.4+ on Windows, Mac, Linux
Opera 8+ on Windows, Mac, Linux (Google Suggest 7.5.4+)
how does the widget set compare to standard sets like those of Java Swing?
is the look&feel adaptable?
is there an API for the development of new widgets?
is it possible to integrate third-party widgets?
what is the market for third-party widgets?
is there support for Accessibility?