Gartner RIA MarketScope: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Boats ImageThere’s always a lot of back and forth between the Flash crowd and the Silverlight crowd. And that’s fine, everyone needs an enemy and competition ends up driving everyone to have better features, better performance, and a better platform. But one of the things I’ve always thought was that Microsoft’s entry into the RIA space would end up being good for everyone. Microsoft has a lot of developers but there are also a lot of developers who don’t like and won’t use a Microsoft solution. Those people also need RIAs.

According to the Gartner MarketScope on RIAs it looks like Microsoft jumping into RIAs pushed adoption across the board in 2009. I don’t have the full report yet but here’s the quote from the blog post that stood out:

Now that Microsoft has validated “heavy RIA” in the eyes of many enterprises, interest in RIA technologies is increasing across the board. Frequent Gartner inquiries indicate that clients pit Ajax vs. Flash vs. Silverlight against each other in evaluations for new RIA projects. What does this mean for JavaFX and other technologies? Tough to say for sure, but my bet is that the “heavy RIA” arena comes down to a battle between Adobe and Microsoft, and that there is enough room in the market for both to be successful.

This isn’t supposed to be a happy-feelgood post. I want Adobe and our community to kick ass and continue to be the leaders in the RIA space. But I’m glad Microsoft is raising awareness; it helps when we can talk about why our platform is better for RIAs and not go back to what RIAs are :) .

I’m stoked about 2010. Especially if it’s a battle between Ajax, Flash, and Silverlight. We’re starting to get a big lead in mobile, AIR continues to do well as a desktop RIA solution, and we’re starting to monetize our own RIAs with services like Acrobat.com. There’s been a slight trend towards “native” which is being led by the iPhone, but don’t discount the persistent desire to create rich, desktop-like experiences with all of the flexibility and scope of the web. The web is still going to win and RIAs will be a big part of that.

Photo by Flickr user jal33

JavaScript Memory and CPU Profiling in Adobe AIR 2

One of the biggest challenges our team continued to hear from JavaScript developers using Adobe AIR 1.5 was that it was too difficult to track down CPU and memory issues within their HTML-based AIR applications. To help JavaScript developers detect and resolve these issues, we have introduced new runtime support for CPU and memory profiling of HTML-based AIR applications in the Adobe AIR 2 beta.

By doing so, tools like Aptana Studio can build powerful features that make analyzing memory and CPU usage of JavaScript execution within an AIR app a breeze. In the video above, Paul Colton, CEO of Aptana, provides an overview of how Aptana Studio is able to take advantage of the new runtime support and build powerful new features to assist developers in tracking down performance issues.

Some of the features included in the new Adobe AIR 2 Beta Plug-In for Aptana Studio include:

  • Live Objects View
    • Shows current information about how much current and cumulative memory is used by the application
    • Shows the number of current and cumulative instances of objects
  • Memory Usage View
    • Peak memory used
    • Current memory used
  • Memory Snapshot and Object References Views
    • Captures the number of class instances as well as memory used at a point in time
    • Select an object to view its references
    • Allocation trace information reveals where the objects are allocated
  • Loitering Objects View
    • Displays the memory usage difference between two memory snapshots
    • Helps detect loitering objects that are still present
  • Performance Profile View
    • Displays a list of all method calls along with amount of time for each to run
  • Method Statistics View
    • Presents information on the callers and callees of a function including statistics
    • Quickly navigate to location of the function in the code

Both Adobe AIR 2 and Adobe AIR 2 Beta Plug-in for Aptana Studio are currently in beta. If you run into issues or have feature requests, both the Adobe and Aptana teams would appreciate hearing your feedback on these new capabilities.

Next steps:

  1. Watch the tutorial video for a quick introduction on the new profiler capabilities
  2. Download the Adobe AIR 2 Beta Plug-In
  3. Discuss the feature on the Adobe AIR 2 Beta forums or post a comment below

Note: For Flex and Flash developers, support for application profiling has been available in Adobe Flex Builder for some time. We are very excited to bring this support to JavaScript developers as well.