JackBe coined the term Rich Enterprise Applications (REA) as an evolution of Rich Internet Applications (RIA). RIA is to Web-grade applications as REA is to Enterprise-grade applications. The side pic. is my personal attempt to illustrate this visually. Some like it; some don’t, so comments are more than welcomed.
So What is Enterprise Grade?
Enterprises require tighter control, security, and reliability. In short they require a degree of governance that the average user building a Google Maps Mashup while sitting at their kitchen table doesn’t need. This should be no surprise to anyone who has worked for large organizations.
People have heard a lot about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 lately. I can see a similarity here that I think might help to distinguish between these two, and REA and RIA. Most of the talk surrounding Web 2.0 has been focused on the social collaborative aspects that it brings to users. I agree with this. Now take all of this (Web 2.0) and enable governance and security and commercial-grade reliability and you have a Web 2.0 model that is fit for an enterprise (Enterprise 2.0)
Following the same logic let’s look at RIA and REA. RIA has brought enhanced desktop-like look and feel to web applications. It looks, feels, and from a user perspective, performs a lot better than some we-based apps of only a few years ago. Let me clarify that this richness is all done in the browser which is perfectly fine for all of the Real estate mashups popping up everyday. You know the ones with balloons imprinted over a map. I like them; nothing wrong with them. It puts the control and build in the hands of the users; they can do what they want as long as they have access to the services which when these are exposed to the client means anything.
Hopefully, maybe you can see where I’m going with this. Enterprises want to encourage this new Web 2.0 movement within the organization to leverage the network effect and value it brings, but because of what I mentioned earlier, organizations have to impose a slightly different model called Enterprise 2.0. Given this, and Enterprise 2.0 requirements, RIA needs added capabilities forreal Enterprise 2.0 grade applications. They need the richness of RIA but with the governance that Enterprise 2.0 mandates. Boom, we have Rich Enterprise Applications that extend the attribute of RIA past the client and into the Enterprise’s resources and enterprises can feel comfortable in doing this because REA has this added governance portion.