So far so boring. But - we're under enormous pressure to supply really cool intranet and internet applications - ones that look good, perform lots of on-screen validation (reducing server round-tripping) and so forth. Rich Internet Applications, in other words. Apps that just need a browser. Not Gates's one, not Firefox, not Job's one, not Opera. Any browser. And this application better work well, unchanged and unmolested on all of them.
Okay, so I'm looking for something better. Something with an IDE, where I can lay out forms, fields, define on-screen validation, and hook em all up to my datasources. Domino, SQL, SAP, whatever, using Web Services or Jason/AJAX calls. Simply, easily, reliably. Is there a solution out there for this ?
Microsoft Silverlight - I've not looked at. However, I fundamentally have a problem in picking a platform that comes from the same bunch of muppets that gave us this issue in the first place. I also have an issue with the usual Microsoft approach to these things: Build three very crap versions in quick succession, give it away for free, then drop it from the roadmap for eight years. Look what they did to Internet Explorer. So. Someone would have to hold a gun to my head before I considered this as a replacement for any form of anyone elses' framework. I realise this is hardly a fair, tolerant and even handed comparison, but I'm not a fair and tolerant guy when it comes to law-breaking billion-dollar companies. I'm sure someone will take offense to this - writing off a whole new generation of MS technology in this manner, but I'm willing to stick with my opinion on this one. I would be happy to eat my hat if I'm wrong in five years, as this would indicate Microsoft were being ran by grown-ups at that point in time.
So there we have it. Frameworks work but may require far more work than you might wish to invest, Flex appears to be another solution to Rich Internet Applications, and the current chair-throwing Microsoft aint welcome in my world...