JNDC and RIA
It seems impossible to find out whether JDNC (JDesktop Network Components) are really designed to contribute to the development of RIA or not. When used in a web-page, JNDC are essentially applets but they can be configured with the same XML configuration files as their desktop equivalents. Futhermore the components, because they are 'network' aware, can fetch their data from the originating web-site. Thus they have precisely the characteristics to make them a valuable component on a web-page.
With JDNC and JDIC Sun is obviously making a renewed effort on the desktop. But from the 'vision thing' point of view the most significant thing would seem to be Java WebStart. This brings many, if not virtually all, of the deployment advantages of pure web applications to the desktop. Whereas initiatives like JDNC and JDIC are [just] new tools for building conventional desktop applications in Java, albeit far more productively. But web deployable, desktop applications are not RIA. Where is the 'vision thing' for Java and RIA? It would have to be something that acknowledges the existence and importance of the web-browser as a primary tool of user interaction. With the web-browser comes a set of expectations related to choices and technology and the ability to combine them. If JDNC is part of a Java/RIA vision then it has to acknowledge that Java-based components, no matter how functional and how rich they are, are just that; components to be mixed and matched with any other Internet capable component.