When that spare moment arrives in which you’re ready to come to grips with the next TLA (three letter abbreviation), it may be RIA you want to grasp. RIA stands for Rich Internet Application, and the real buzz is about RIA frameworks. Adobe brought out Apollo; Microsoft produced Silverlight; Google has Gears; and Mozilla is going to do something similar in the next version of Firefox. All of these are ways of trying to bridge the gap between what you can do online and offline, some being more ambitious than others. Partly it’s about being able to read your Gmail on a plane (i.e. offline), partly it’s about creating a seamless experience regardless of connectivity, and partly it’s about keeping your data on your own machine and “outsourcing” computing power to some faraway server… At least, this is what I’ve gleaned so far.
You can get a better understanding by starting with a piece by Alex Iskold, “RIA: Waht is it good for?” on Read/WriteWeb. And when you grok it entirely, let me know what it’s all about, okay? Because, it’s clearly headed our way.