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A Rich Internet Application (RIA) is a Web application with many of the same features and appearances as a desktop application. A RIA requires a browser, browser plug-in or virtual machine to deliver a user application. Data manipulation is handled by the server, and user interface and related object manipulation are handled by the client machine.
An RIA usually does not require client machine installation. However, client machine operation requires installation of a platform - such as Adobe Flash, Java or Microsoft Silverlight. The RIA may request that the user download and install a required platform if the platform not present. Some RIAs run on several Internet browsers, while others run on specified browsers only.
An RIA usually operates in a sandbox, which is a designated desktop area in a client machine. The sandbox limits visibility and access to the client machine’s file system and OS. Sandbox parameters reduce inherent RIA security vulnerabilities.