Rich Portal Applications and the UcompOS RPF

All the world needs are more acronyms, and I am introducing you to not just one, but two new acronyms here in my initial blog posting:

The “RPF” in UcompOS RPF stands for “Rich Productivity Framework” and with the UcompOS RPF you can build “RPAs“, or “Rich Portal Applications.

Now that we’ve got a little of the jargon out of the way (unfortunately, I am afraid to say this project necessarily has a lot more jargon associated with it), I’ll talk a little bit about my perception of what I think an RPA is and how the UcompOS RPF lets you build them.

The central player in the UcompOS RPF is an entity called the UcompOS Portal.

Technically, the UcompOS Portal is a Flex 4 SWF that can be considered the “Main Container” and run-time for a specific type of application I call UcompOS Applications.

The UcompOS Portal is equipped with a number of visual and non-visual entities that create an experience that I have tried to parallel with the experience offered on Windows or Mac OS X desktop implementation.

Visually, there is a Menu Bar and an Application Dock as well as an MDI (Multiple Document Interface) windows implementation.

The UcompOS Portal’s features are exposed by an API and an SDK has been created for JavaScript, Flash, Flex, and AIR developers that allows for the creation of UcompOS Applications.

Built into the SDK are a number of Proxy Components, which is the name I have given to a client implementation that executes an API method exposed in another UcompOS Application.

Because UcompOS Applications can also be authored as Adobe AIR applications, a UcompOS RPF implementation can transcend the web browser and extend to the end user’s desktop.

I feel the name Rich Portal Application is more appropriate to describe the UcompOS RPF than just Rich Internet Application, however, clearly I feel the UcompOS RPF is also a Rich Internet Application.

More completely stated, I would describe the UcompOS RPF as an implementation for the management and coordination of multiple Rich Internet Applications working in conjunction to create a complete portal-like experience for the end-user.

I believe the technologies I have chosen to build the UcompOS Portal (i.e. Adobe Flash, Flex, and AIR) and some of the early core UcompOS Applications with are very adept at creating experiences that are truly “rich”, or, at least “richer” than legacy web-based applications.

I have been working with Flash-related technologies since 1997 and I have been working on the UcompOS RPF since April of this year (2009) having come up with the idea for it the previous January and I have not been as excited about a project as I am about the UcompOS RPF.

I am not exactly sure where the project will go to but I am looking forward to taking it to great heights.  Ideally I’d like to find at least a reasonable population of Flash, Flex, JavaScript, and/or AIR developers who try it out and give me some valuable feedback and ideas.

Commercially, at least at this juncture, I don’t have any intentions of trying to monetize the framework.  There are a million frameworks and very rarely do any seem to find a way to actually make any money.

My main bread and butter will be an e-learning application called Educator 2 that I am building entirely on top of the UcompOS RPF and I think it will be a good indication of the UcompOS RPF’s success or failure.  Educator 2 is a continuation of an e-learning software I wrote back in 1999 that has been used by well over a million students in the past decade and is still being used commercially in some areas of higher education and K-12 education in the United States.

As I build the Educator 2 RPA on the UcompOS RPF in 2010, I’ll be working hard to continuously grow and improve the entire framework.  As I do, I am planning to write about it and document it extensively in this blog.

If you are a developer and any of this sounds interesting, follow along.  I’d enjoy working with you and collaborating with you.

To learn more about the very basics of the implementation, I have put together a number of QuickTime Video Tutorials and I plan to add to that list frequently.