Thin Client Architecture: Distributing the presentation layer between client and server

Thin Client Architecture: Distributing the presentation layer between client and server

Post by Jana » Fri, 27 Dec 2002 21:23:15

Most clients in Client/Server architectures follow the MVC pattern for
their GUIs. The View and Controller reside on the client and the Model
is distributed between the client and the server. The split between
the client part and the server part is normally done at the Model or
the Controller level. This is the usual fat client
architecture. This architecture has two problems, one of development
time complexity and the second of deployment.

The development is complex due the distribution at the model level
between the client and the server. The programmers endeavor
throughout is to keep the client side and server side models in synch
at runtime. A lot of effort is spent in establishing and coding the
client server communication protocol. In addition, the programmer
spends time on optimizing the client-server roundtrips by implementing
mechanisms like caching, request batching, etc., which are specific to
each application.

The deployment is complex because the client is application specific.
The client part has to be installed on each desktop and configured,
which is a time consuming and expensive process. This is especially so
for the internet/intranet applications which require seamless
deployment of the application on the end users machine over the

Solutions to the above problems exist in a flavor of Thin Client
architecture that splits the application between client and server at
the View level. In this architecture the client is an application
independent presentation component, which acts as a universal client.
The GUI is completely controlled from the server side and the
controller and the model too reside on the server side, the client
just interprets and renders the GUI. Thus the entire application is
server centric, which makes development and maintenance simpler. The
application independent client makes for the easy deployment.

Ultra Light Client (ULC) from Canoo Engineering AG is an efficient and
complete framework, which implements the above mentioned architecture.
ULC is a Java framework for developing thin client internet/intranet
applications. An ULC application has two components. The client is an
application independent, thin, presentation component, which renders
the applications GUIs using SWING. The presentation component
is 300KB of Java code, which can run on the client as a standalone
Java program using Java Web Start or as an applet within a Web
Browser. The server is the ULC application, built using ULC UI
components/widgets, which runs as a Servlet or an EJB session bean in
a web or an EJB container. ULC applications are pure Java applications
and fully compliant with the J2EE standards.

ULC has the following advantages:

For developers, ULC enables faster development, almost 50% faster, as
compared to a comparable applet/fat client solution. This is because
of the fact that ULC framework takes care of client/server
distribution, communication, and roundtrip optimizations thus saving
lot of programming effort on the part of the developers.

For the end user, ULC delivers fat client like GUIs that are much
richer as compared to HTML based solutions. Additionally, it keeps the
cost of ownership low because of the application independent client.
Such a client is good for any number of applications on the server and
does not have to be reinstalled if the application on the server

For more information:


Thin Client Architecture: Distributing the presentation layer between client and server

Post by Claudio Puvian » Fri, 27 Dec 2002 23:04:35

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1. ProjectPortal, thin client and thin server groupware

Most Media has made available a new release ProjectPortal, a web enabled QA,
sharing, and messaging application:

What is ProjectPortal?

ProjectPortal was developed to meet the needs of small to medium sized,
geographically dispersed, multimedia development teams (what are now called
virtual teams). It includes a Quality Assurance (bug tracking) application
and a document repository.

The QA application everything needed to handle this all important part of
the development process. QA incidents can be submitted, assigned to team
members (with e-mail notification), and tracked to resolution. Full-featured
reporting keeps you in control. You can add additional custom reports of
your own.

The document repository lets you maintain different versions of a document
and supports document check-in and check-out. Users are notified by e-mail
when documents are added to the repository and when new versions become
available. The application is password protected, supports user access
lists, and different classes of users with different access rights.

ProjectPortal was developed to support our own development efforts, mostly
out of necessity. We would have preferred using an off the shelf solution
but most were outrageously expensive with per server costs hovering around
$1000 dollars and additional per seat charges. At this point, we feel it's
mature enough to release it to a wider audience.

What are its advantages?

The product is a true thin-client solution, requiring only a browser that
supports javascript. More significantly it's also a thin-server application
with a minimal footprint. No enormous and expensive application or database
server is required. All you need is a web server that supports win-cgi
applications. Copy the files to a directory on the server, setup the
directory permissions, fill in a few fields in the administration program,
and you're ready to go. The entire user interface is customizable using any
html editor.

Its greatest advantage is that it provides most of the features of
applications costing an order of magnitude more. You can run as many
projects as you want on a single server for $59.

Where to get it?

2. GTE suit

3. Thin and Thick Client architecture

4. Using ADOCE 3.1 in eVC++

5. 3-Tier Architecture and Thin Clients

6. ****** NEW COMMODORE 64 PAGE *******

7. How to implement client-server server-client IDL/Application ?

8. Folder archiving script

9. US-Open Client/Server Programmer Analyst- To $70K Client-Server/C/C++/RDBMS

10. about the distributed streaming server and client-pull vs. server-push

11. Terminal Server:Transfer license from 1 thin client to another

12. Book FA: Understanding Thin Client/Server Computing, Citrix ICA