Discover the pros and cons of using Adobe® Flex and OpenLaszlo — two leading client-side rich Internet application (RIA) development languages that are particularly useful for building Software as a Service applications for the cloud.

There is obvious value in learning how to build rich Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. But how do you choose a path to developing the skills necessary for building this type of software? In the past, SaaS development meant choosing a language responsible for rendering the necessary HTML in the browser when a respective URL was called, then choosing a database to store data as necessary. In contrast, modern SaaS application development requires that you make numerous additional decisions, as Figure 1 shows. One such decision is a client-side language or RIA-centric framework. Although there must be communication between the client-side language and the server-side platform, the client side runs independently of the server-side application.

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