There’s been a buzz lately, and I think it’s only going to grow. That buzz is RIA, or Rich Internet Applications. Applications like Gmail and Writely have shown that an internet application can be a powerful tool for productivity and collaboration. The problem though, is that the current HTML + AJAX solution simply sucks. Enter the two RIA contenders, Silverlight and Apollo. These tools are going to make it easy to develop a rich user experience from an internet application.
For what it’s worth, my money is on Silverlight. When Microsoft announced that Silverlight applications will use CLR, and that CLR will be available on OSX, my jaw dropped. The ability to write a rich internet application using the amazing power of C# and the Common Language Runtime is amazing, and the fact that this will work on OSX shows that MS is serious about making this a viable platform. On top of this, I’m sure that there is going to be an extremely intuitive RPC mechanism to interact with ASP.Net webservices (and PHP/Ruby/etc. webservices). The boost in developer productivity is going to have a direct impact on the quality of applications that will be developed in the next few years.