Software Frameworks

Software Frameworks provide a universal software environment with specific functions that are taylored to developing software applications. Frameworks can include different programs, tools, code libraries and interfaces in combinations that facilitate software development. There are different software frameworks for different types of projects – from financial modeling to multimedia playback to scientific computing to web applications.

Rich Internet Applications are typically created using specific types of software framework. Some common examples include Ajax and JavaScript, Adobe Flash and Air, Apache Flex and Microsoft Silverlight. Developing RIAs using these platforms allows for applications to be run from a browser window instead of installing them specifically on your computer, and has also opened development for certain website features to be installed onto your computer instead of having to use a web browser.

Adobe AIR allows for the creation of applications with Adobe Flash, ActionScript or Apache Flex, and has support for installations on most operating systems, including Windows, OS X, Android and iOS. Adobe AIR is responsible for such applications as Adobe Media Player, the social media dashboard TweetDeck which can be run via a web app or a desktop app, and the mega-popular touch based game Angry Birds.

Ajax and JavaScript frameworks are both popular choices for web application developers, and are often used for building dynamic web pages. A Dynamic web page can respond and change depending on different variables, while a Static web page will always display the same information no matter what, unless the source code is changed. Dynamic web pages will display different information based on the location of the visitor or what type of browser or operating system is being used, as well as providing the capability for users to log in to website to see personalized information. Static web pages are typically created using HTML code, while dynamic web pages are usually coded using other languages, such as JavaScript, ActionScript and PHP, or created using a framework like Apache Flex.

Microsoft Silverlight is a framework similar to Adobe Flash, and is available as a plugin for some internet browsers. Its use is slowly fading out, but it is still used for some streaming video services and supports different types of animation, graphics and other media. Silverlight was used by Netflix and Amazon Instant Video to provide a platform for users to stream movies and tv shows from those services in their web browsers. Since Silverlight is a Microsoft product, its main uses were on Windows based operating systems, but it was also made available on Mac systems using Intel processors, and some mobile devices as well. Many software frameworks and platforms are part of the Open-Source Initiative, but Microsoft’s Silverlight framework remained a proprietary creation, which may have contributed to its decrease in popularity and use. Adobe Flash is proprietary software as well, but Flash has a much wider range of support for different operating systems and platforms.