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

Building RIAs on J2EE Foundations

Joe builds and develops Adobe ColdFusion, Flash, Flex, and Ajax applications for all manner of organizations. He can be contacted at www.firemoss.com.

I've been hooked on Rich Internet Applications (RIA) since the release of Adobe Flash 5. Unlike traditional HTML-based web applications, RIAs take advantage of client runtimes (like Adobe Flash Player) to deliver engaging user experiences. For instance, to write this article I used an Adobe RIA called "Buzzword" (labs.adobe.com/technologies/buzzword), a full-featured word processor running within my browser that lets me collaborate and work simultaneously—functionality that can't be found in traditional HTML-based web applications.

Adobe Flex RIAs become even more useful to users when they use server-side components for connectivity to databases, media, and other services. I've developed the server-side of RIAs using Java, SOAP, .NET, PHP, Rails, and ColdFusion. In the process, ColdFusion has become my application server of choice for RIA service layer development. Why? Because ColdFusion combines straightforward development with features such as Flash Remoting and real-time messaging gateways that simplify communication between the application server and Flex RIAs.

To see why ColdFusion is an important addition to a RIA developer's toolbox, in this article, I design and build a Flex application using ColdFusion 8. This application, named "Task List," enables collaborative management of a list of tasks using a rich front-end and real-time communications; see Figure 1. The complete source code for the Task List application is available online (www.ddj.com/code/).

Figure 1: The Task List application.

The goals of the Task List application include:

  • It should be deployable as a Java WAR, allowing simple management and installation.
  • When users run the application, they should see a simple list of tasks, each clickable to indicate completion.
  • A text box and "OK" button should let users add new tasks.
  • Upon adding a new task or completing a task, the update should be pushed in real-time to other users running the application.

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.