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Thick clients vs Thin clients

Have been thinking about this for some time now.

Are thick clients gone?
Will browser host all the apps in the future?
Or is it that the rich clients which are net - enabled like MSN messenger will rule.

A UI in the browser really sucks, it is statelss.

What is the best way of accessing information anywhere/anytime without using the browser which will also provide a good UI experience ?

Mandar
Friday, November 30, 2001

Look at http://www.softvelocity.com/clarionet/default.html .

Wayne Price
Friday, November 30, 2001

Well thin clients GUI does not suck, not really.
There was a discussion on this before. I have seen Oracle Applications 11i, whose GUI is pretty good(by far the best i have seen) and its completely on the browser. It uses Pluggable Java components to accomplish this.

As for my vote for best thick clients for client server development.

1. Oracle Forms 6i (www.oracle.com) . Advantage is that it can be deployed on the web too as a thin client without loss of too many features.

2. Centura Sql windows (www.Centurasoft.com). Extermely good class development.

Karthik.S
Saturday, December 01, 2001

Why bother with all the special browser stuff.  There seems to be quite an agreement that the browser (HTML) is really poor for application development. Thus, everyone out there is racing to build a client. (the Oracle forms interface looks real nice…and it sure is NOT HTML). You load a client on the PC, and a away you go (the fact that it runs in a browser is not such a big deal). Changes to the application do NOT require a change to the client.

The clarion product mentioned also has it’s own custom client. They all are doing this to get a decent interface.

One simply has to ask the question: Why not Windows Terminal Server?

TS also can run from inside a browser. Thus, any application you have now (Word, Excel)…whatever will run fine over the web at the other end. I mean the whole idea here is to just send commands to draw a box, display text etc. In fact a custom client is going to be much faster than text based html anyway.

While TS is just really a high quality remote control, I believe that all of the windows drawing commands (a large part of the windows API) should be able to be re-directed. Thus, just like telnet , or x-windows this API is should be separate from the application. Thus, I could run a application on the desk next to me, or half way around the world.

It is very likely that Microsoft also asked the above question. Why not just send the windows drawing down the wire? Why did they not do this? They must have thought about this? Well, they decided that they want us developers to use a new set of tools. Theses tools not only allow development of client applications, but also extend COMMUNCIATION between applications OVER THE WEB. This is one feature that TS does not do. It is also a feature lacking in most thin clients. If Microsoft is correct on this decision, they are really going to win big here…..REAL BIG!

Thus, the key is not simply creating a client…but allowing clients (software) to communicate with other software. After all, that is what creating com (objects) is all about. It is the way we have been developing software since windows95.

Thus, I can now create a web site that has a com object that does Zip code lookups. Anyone anywhere on the web can now use this software as a service. They don’t have to download and install this software. As a result, any programmer out there can now implement zip code lookup in their application, and not have to worry about updating and maintaining a zip code list. They simply reference this object like any other object. The only difference here is that the object is now being used across the web. They don’t even have to even update their software anymore!

It also means that any developer will now want to use Microsoft’s development tools. Microsoft well knows that the developer tools are one key pillar of the Microsoft empire.

Thus, I think Microsoft looked very hard and long into using a thin client. The result of this hard question is the .net initiative.

Albert D. Kallal
Saturday, December 01, 2001

With Linux bringing UNIX back into prevalence maybe we should look back at ASCII terminals. 

This is not the be all, end all way of interfacing, but it does make sense in certain situations.  I know of many businesses that still run DOS applications and they like it that way, they prefer the interface.  These are the people that would make good use of text only terminals.  Sure the interface is ugly, but the interface doesn't really matter as long as it is easy to use.  ASCII only also has the added benifit of easy networking, you could stick remote users on a 14.4 modem and it'd still work great.

For the instances when you need graphics, the X-Windowing system and Terminal Server like products fit the bill well.

Bob
Tuesday, December 04, 2001

As a Zope/Python developer I've been struggling with the issue of "thin/thick" and browser based clients. Check out Sash from IBM, I'm interested in other opinions on this.

http://sash.alphaworks.ibm.com

It's still a little rough, but interesting.

Brad Clements
Thursday, December 06, 2001

A friend of mine has been working on a thin-client windowing system, built entirely in dHTML and XML-complient. Pretty advanced. Was dissapointed to find that hitting the tab button doesn't shuttle between fileds though..

http://www.recipexperience.com

Jake Grimley
Monday, December 17, 2001

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