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Thin Clientvs Fat Client


Namespace: WIN_COM_API
If you have done both and feel like giving us some insight into the advantages or disadvantages of either method please feel free!
Thin is in.

How thin is thin? The intended definition of these terms were that a thin client required few resources or pre-requisites on the client machine; a fat client required more. Marketing invented the terms as thin was cool and fat is obese and undesirable; what if they had called them thin and rich? or emaciated and robust? Or limited and powerful? A Marketdroid invented these terms to claim that his emaciated program was better than his competitor's rich, powerful and robust one.

If you require IE 5.01 SP1 or later in order to get your DHTML and CSS to work correctly on the client machines, you are not thin.

...and now thin is out.

Even if you aren't one jumping on the Microsoft Bandwagon for VisualStudioDotNet, you should recognize that every argument away from a ThinClient is an argument for VisualStudioDotNet. Microsoft was so frustrated by the fact that their Fat OS (WindowsWhistler/WindowsXP .. the final convergence between Windows3.1/95/98/ME and WindowsNT/2000) was almost supplanted by a puny ThinClient - based internet (where browsers of any brand rule).. even before it was released, that they decided to leverage the growing dissatisfaction with ThinClient browsers and created ( or are in the process of creating ) a tool ( VisualStudioDotNet ) whose entire purpose is to make it easier to build a Fat Client in WindowsWorld. (Never Mind that Fat Client s already are easy to build on other OSes, the whole point of DotNetOffsite link to http://gotdotnet.com is to give WindowsWorld a foot in the door where Unix/Linux had a distinct advantage).

Feel free to refactor my ramblings into shorter sentences. - wgcs
On the bright side, *YOU* are usually not responsible for the client machines, and can send them to Microsoft to download the software. Bug Central.com has over 1000 clients hitting the server; we recommend, but do not require, the latest browsers (IE, Netscape or Opera). Some clients use the site with Macs or Unix machines with little or no trouble. We don't have all the advantages of a "richer" platform - limited controls, GUI widgets, etc., but the trade-off is manageable. -- Ted Roche
Here is an interesting article on this subject:
http://www.devx.com/free/hotlinks/2001/ednote041801.asp
-- Randy Jean
Here's a comparison between Base One International's Rich Client architecture (for Internet-enabled Windows applications) versus Thin Client: http://www.boic.com/bisrichc.htm
-- Steven Asherman
Just as in other evangelical issues, all problems tend to look like a nail to a hammer. Thin client has its place, as does fat/rich/whatever.
If you need PUBLIC internet access to your data, thin client may be the way to go. No client-side deliverables. If client-side deliverables or bandwidth restrictions (international access) are an issue for you, thin client may be worth the effort. If you have a captive audience for your data (your company, clientele, etc.), rich client can be less expensive to develop, require fewer component technologies, and a smaller skill set from your developers. Don't confuse client-server issues with thin vs thick client issues. For example, if users will be updating your data from multiple application interfaces (excel, access, your app, etc.), then you need server-side data validation and thus, a client-server system. This does not necessarily mean thin client, though. I'm sure that there are other specific issues that could swing the pendulum in a particular direction. Perhaps a good reader will create a seperate wiki item and start a checklist. Kinda like...
If you have these circumstances, thin client is recommended.
If you have these other circumstances, thick client.
If you have yet these other circumstances, client-server.
ditto... file-server.
ditto... no server!
-- Ray Kirk

Another calculator to calculate the savings of thin clients over fat clients
http://www.2x.com/calculator/fat2thinsavings.htm
---zeoman

Try this article: Choosing the Right Thin Clients for your System i iSeries http://www.bosanova.net/thinclient/thinconfig.html
---Paul Glen


Contributors: Ted Roche, Randy Jean
Category Methodologies Category Application Design
( Topic last updated: 2007.10.14 06:16:31 AM )