"A rich Internet application combines the benefits of using the Web as a low-cost deployment model with a rich user experience that's at least as good as today's desktop applications. And, since RIAs don't require that the entire page be refreshed to update their data, the response time is much faster and the network load much lower. Think of a globally available client/server application."
Evolution of RIAs
The sheer number of JS toolkits can be confusing to the uninitiated. In addition to technical considerations, issues such as licenses, modularity, and support should be considered. We discuss the most common toolkits: Prototype/Scriptaculous, Dojo, YUI, Ext-JS and jQuery.
- Prototype: Prototype is the oldest framework, and thanks to its close association with Ruby on Rails, it is a widely adopted rapid application development (RAD) framework for the web. Developed by Sam Stephenson in 2004, it's probably the best-developed class-based system. Scriptaculous is a separate library, built on Prototype, that provides effects and animation. Scriptaculous has gained a reputation for being bloated, and that caused Digg to abandon both Scriptaculous and Prototype in favor of jQuery.
- Dojo: Dojo, unlike the rest of the toolkits mentioned, provides a rich text editor, something for which there is a great demand. It has also completed a great number of partnerships, most notably with Zend. Zend is a leading framework for PHP development, supported by IBM and SUN, and they plan to integrate Dojo in their next version. In addition to the usual collection of widgets, Dojo provides extensions to do box and line charts.
Competing with Commercial Alternatives