Why Does RIA Exist

Rich Internet Applications (RIA) is starting to become a state of nirvana, whereby everyone wants a piece of it and to add their fingerprints to it – that's not a bad thing – but what why does it exist and what defines RIA?

Jeremy Allaire in 2002 wrote a whitepaper on the subject, and it's still somewhat relevant today (which is a testament to his vision / mindset at the time).

RIA means many things to many people and the more our technology evolves, the bigger these three letters are starting to become, I say this as I've already heard someone say that the Adobe Photoshop Online is going to be the "kick ass" RIA going.

It may fit RIA or it may not but the point is that I felt that once an application had any internet piece attached to it, then a knee jerk reaction is to automatically consider it as a RIA! An example of this is with AJAX applications. I'm not convinced AJAX fits the RIA scope (it's very close, but I'm not convinced – so convince me!).

The question I ask you is this:

Why Does RIA Exist?