RIAs for nondevelopers

Why build RIAs?

Since well before coining the term rich Internet application (RIA) in 2002, Adobe has been deeply focused on improving the web experience and delivering the underlying technologies to produce more interactive and expressive web applications.

RIAs have since been widely adopted and proven to deliver tangible ROI to the businesses that deploy them. Measurable benefits include higher customer conversion rates, increased user productivity, and improved customer loyalty.

Adobe RIA technologies provide the tools, frameworks, servers, services, and clients required to create successful RIAs. Using these technologies, designers and developers can work efficiently together to push the boundaries of what is possible in the browser and on the desktop today.

About RIAs

There are many reasons why rich Internet applications may be appropriate for your business. Here are some of the most common reasons RIAs are deployed:

  • Your customers expect usable, powerful interfaces that provide the responsiveness of traditional desktop applications.
  • You have an opportunity to increase revenue through higher conversion rates, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, increased customer loyalty, or increased awareness of your product via online channels.
  • You have an opportunity to decrease costs through reduction in user error or reduction in direct sales interactions through online transactions.
  • Your customers would benefit from complex data visualization, including charting or graphical presentation of data.
  • You have the need for an application that is very interactive, perhaps including multimedia, audio, or video.

Things to consider

Choosing a set of technologies for building RIAs is an important decision. The Adobe technology platform for RIAs has been designed to work with other web technologies to deliver a complete solution across browsers, desktops, and devices. Here are some questions to ask when considering specific RIA technologies:


  • Do the clients include support for industry standards for multimedia like H.264 video or Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)?
  • Does the development framework include a rich set of user interface components?
  • Is there support for managing large volume and real-time data?


  • Do all of your potential users have the required client technology?
  • Does the technology allow you to develop solutions that consistently reach the browser and desktop across all major operating systems?


  • Do the tools allow designers and developers to work efficiently together?
  • Are the tools widely available and used throughout the industry?
  • Do the development frameworks allow for rapid development, testing, and deployment of applications?
  • Is there a strong, open community of designers and developers already working with the technologies?

Sample RIAs

Since RIAs were first introduced in 2002, RIAs have been developed across a broad variety of industries and use cases.

Many RIAs are designed for use within the enterprise, where complex business processes are simplified by more interactive applications that display rich data. Oracle, SAP, Business Objects, and other enterprise software companies have publicly demonstrated the use of Adobe® Flex® technology integrated with their enterprise applications. The customer showcase includes many examples discussing the benefits of deploying these applications.

See the customer showcase

There are also a large number of publicly available RIAs built with Adobe technologies. Here are a few examples:

Financial services


Retail and consumer

Media and entertainment

Getting started

Most developers and designers can get started building RIAs using tools they are already using to build websites.

If you would like to work with a third-party to architect, design, or develop your application there a large number of interactive agencies with experience building RIAs. Many of the applications in the customer showcase were built by these interactive agencies in collaboration with the application owner.

Adobe's partner program provides a list of solutions providers that are familiar with RIA technologies and can help deliver RIAs.

Featured downloads

Adobe Flex

Get started building RIAs with the Free Adobe Flex SDK or a free 60-day trial of Flash® Builder™.

Adobe AIR

Get started developing applications for Adobe AIR with these downloads.