PIAs vs RIAs

Ok, so I have been struggling with what to call the non-rich internet application approach. You know the web that we have known and loved for all these years. In writing about and discussing it I have noticed what a pain it is to succintly point out the differences between the old model and the new.

So what really is the difference between the old and the new?

Well, the traditional web has this model:

  • The user enters information at the page level or clicks on a link to go to another page
  • The page refreshes to show the result of the user’s request
  • Everything is framed in the context of a page or document that has content
And the new web (I know its really not new) has this model:
  • The user interacts with items on the page and the feedback is immediate.
  • The page does not have to refresh to complete the user’s interaction
  • The page can be more like a canvas or desktop with content being objects the user interacts with

Most of the time I just call this new web model RIAs (Rich Internet Applications). Its both short and long (ah! the beauty of an acronym!)

But what do we call this traditional, previous, older thingy?

Well it really is a page-based interaction model. Applications built with this page-based approach are really Paged Internet Applications, or PIAs. Or perhaps, they could be called Page-Based Applications (PBAs). But for symmetry (and maybe subtle confusion :-) we could talk about PIAs vs. RIAs.

What do you think? Certainly someone has to have a better idea?

BTW, I am aware of Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0. I kind of like that but the term Web 2.0 was being used to describe web companies that started up after the dot-bomb and are thriving (like Flickr).

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Sr. Director, UI Engineering, PayPal. Former Netflixer, Y! Pattern Curator. UX & Engineering Leader, Author, Speaker. Early Mac game developer (1985)

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