Sunday, May 04, 2003

Web Services and RIA's

Web Services and RIA's

All biggies ( Microsoft, Macromedia, Apple, Google) are hard at work to mesh Web services in their products.

Central is Macromedia's offering for building and managing Web Services.

Central helps create desktop applications to automate web basedtasks. These Flash apps do things like getting news from various sources, tracking cricket scores, prices etc.

Kevin Lynch demoed a price-tracking application that alerts users if something they're interested in suddenly goes on sale. Even if the user is offline,the app will cache the Web data in the background, and continue to work even when disconnected.

Clutter, a small web app, automatically pulls images of CD covers from's website and displays them your desktop. You can then just click on the CD cover to play. (

How about developing a similar app which will pull up top bestseller covers from Amazon and download sample chapters automatically ?

Many companies provide a lot of data about the goods they sell through XML feeds, including price, availability, reviews , images of CD and book covers. XML feeds are being deployed more and more on the Web.

Many people depend on these free feeds for a living. Some run services like book-price comparison service,, which relies on XML feeds detailing prices from a dozen online book stores, including

If the XML feeds stop, these people go out of business.

These people worry the explosion of rich Internet applications may prompt sites to start charging for their XML feeds, or providing them only to favoured parties. At present, most XML feeds are experimental and freely available.


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