Jan 17 2007

What makes a great RIA development practice

Published by at 15:07 under Wayback Archive

Good article by Cynergy Systems on what makes a good RIA development practice. Two things in the article actually got my attention – his ‘frustration’ about low priced programmers as well as the mention of the designer – developer workflow.

I’d like to start with quoting Dave his ending note, cause I could not summarize it better myself:

Developing a true enterprise class RIA is not about just design and Flash and it is not about throwing low priced programmers at the problem. It is about a complete and holistic approach to the development process, the right distribution of team members, working as a team with a well established process, workflow and discipline. It really does take a village. [read the article to understand the ‘village’ aspect]

RIA Programmer Costs
I am not sure where ‘low priced programmers’ actually comes from, maybe it reflects Dave’s feelings on what the market is expecting these days? I actually agree with him that this ‘cheap’ expectation is completely wrong if you’d like your project to be successful. Maybe the market is inspired by the AJAX hit and the fact that relatively cheaper (then Java) scripters say they can now build enterprise applications?

My enterprise experience is completely different; the types of projects that I discuss with my customers are big projects with hundreds to even thousands of man-days going into development of the RIA part (so excluding the business logic in the back-end). And believe me, these projects require top people and they are not cheap. It’s not only true for good ‘developers’, but even so for great Experience Designers. The market is very bright for all of you out there!

Designer Developer Workflow
Ryan Steward comments on the article and both Dave and he talk about the designer – developer workflow. I absolutely agree on the need to have this extremely optimized. It’s something I have been discussing with customers and partners since we started to promote Rich Internet Applications. Dave refers to ‘sometimes outsourcing design’ but here in Belgium and Netherlands it’s more a rule then an exception. It adds an additional layer of complexity and I’ve tried to steer this as much as a could during the projects I have done with customers so far. And once you know the game, with Flex it’s actually pretty easy to play.

At Adobe we have had a huge focus on this designer-developer workflow for several years (and Dave, finally Microsoft starts to understand it too 😉 ). We did some good things, we did some bad things. I don’t want to go through the history again, but at Adobe we know our responsibilities and I believe we are really well positioned to make our customers successful in this area. I mean, just think about separation of MXML – CSS – ActionScript, the power of Flash-Flex integration through styles, skins and the likes, think about the upcoming Adobe CS3 and all the previews on it’s Flex integration that we’ve been given at MAX. And then I am not even talking about all the other tools and services like Acrobat Connect to make those diversified teams even more successful.

I guess this topic will be a hot topic for 2007 and looking forward to all the ideas that come up in the community.

ps: I expect Sho to be a great contributer to this discussion as well!

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