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Sunday, August 07, 2005

PIAs vs RIAs

Ok, so I have been struggling with what to call the non-rich internet application approach. You know the web that we have known and loved for all these years. In writing about and discussing it I have noticed what a pain it is to succintly point out the differences between the old model and the new.

So what really is the difference between the old and the new?

Well, the traditional web has this model:

  • The user enters information at the page level or clicks on a link to go to another page
  • The page refreshes to show the result of the user’s request
  • Everything is framed in the context of a page or document that has content
And the new web (I know its really not new) has this model:
  • The user interacts with items on the page and the feedback is immediate.
  • The page does not have to refresh to complete the user’s interaction
  • The page can be more like a canvas or desktop with content being objects the user interacts with

Most of the time I just call this new web model RIAs (Rich Internet Applications). Its both short and long (ah! the beauty of an acronym!)

But what do we call this traditional, previous, older thingy?

Well it really is a page-based interaction model. Applications built with this page-based approach are really Paged Internet Applications, or PIAs. Or perhaps, they could be called Page-Based Applications (PBAs). But for symmetry (and maybe subtle confusion :-) we could talk about PIAs vs. RIAs.

What do you think? Certainly someone has to have a better idea?

BTW, I am aware of Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0. I kind of like that but the term Web 2.0 was being used to describe web companies that started up after the dot-bomb and are thriving (like Flickr).


Jon ├ůslund said...

AJAX quickly became popular because it looked different and Web 2.0 is just geeky enough to be accepted. They don't exactly describe what you mean though. I've been struggling with the same thing, but in my case, I am still so stuck in the old way of doing things that I call them "the normal way" and "with AJAX and stuff".

I think of AJAX only as XMLHttpRequest, but others are using it as the word you are looking for. That still doesn't say anything about the old model. NAJAX (No AJAX)? :)

We could just hijack Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, if we wanted, but I think a descriptive names are better, if someone can just come up with good ones.

At first sight, I didn't like PIA and RIA. Do we really need more acronyms? :) And Pia is a girl name in Swedish and RIA sounds too much like RIAA.

But the more I think about it, the more I like PIA. I sometimes ask myself and others if we want "an application on the web" or "a bunch of webpages with some functions linked together".

Jacques Morel said...

I like it Bill! Small and symmetrical.
PIA could also stand for Poor Internet Application in obvious contrast with Rich Internet Application...

Prasant Sivadasan said...

The reason I'm not comfortable with RIA's is because it could also refer to applications like realplayer or itunes. Those are applications that are rich and access the internet for most of their content. They are rich applications that are internet-enabled.

I like RWA's much better - Rich web applications. So PWA's and RWA's.

Anonymous said...

As an old time GUI developer frustrated by how hard it was to develop really nice web app UIs prior to AJAX, I saw "PIA" and assumed you were making a joke. i.e. "Pain in the A**". :)

Anonymous said...

My point of view is that what you call PIAs are not applications at all, but a collection of pages - a website. So I think of it as website vs webapp.