Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼

Web Development

Widgets & Rich Internet Applications

Dana is a division scientist, one of BBN's principal contributors to the Ultra*Log project, and the primary architect of ACME (Agent-Automated Configuration Management Environment), a continuous integration, test, and assessment system.

Raymond is a software engineer with BBN Technologies and recently completed his first book, Professional Rich Internet Applications: AJAX and Beyond.

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) increasingly developed as solutions to problems traditionally solved by applications executing on the client. Complex programs such as wordprocessors, spreadsheets, and e-mail clients are now maintained online, and executed entirely within the confines of web browsers. Consider the popularity of sites like Gmail, Google Maps, and Flickr.

Desktop widgets are lightweight client applications that can be used in conjunction with a RIA to incorporate the advantages of both the client and server. The advantage widgets offer for a RIA are the ability to interact with client systems, and to use resources available only on clients while avoiding the overhead required to develop a complete application from scratch. Examples of client interactions that are possible with widgets include:

  • Client filesystem interactions such as reading/writing files on client systems.
  • System analysis, such as examining the amount of CPU or memory in use.
  • Interacting with iTunes or other applications running on client systems.
  • Examining the number and power level of batteries connected to client systems.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.