Sometimes You Can Be Too Thin
Todays computer user interface technology offers a wealth of options for accessing and working with information.
As Internet and Web technologies proliferated, many software vendors rushed to develop “thin client” applications, using the same tools for developing Web pages.
Lets define some terms. A client is a computer or workstation that is typically connected to a network. Generally, a thin client workstation doesnt contain application software but can access the software from a server or from the Internet in order to make use of it. Thus, thin clients are often referred to as browser-based, Web clients or lean clients.
After the early rush of software companies to attempt to move every process to thin client architecture, with plenty of misses along the way, some independent software vendors now have adopted a balanced approach with thin and rich client computing. You have to use technologies where they make the most sense. Thin clients may seem “cooler,” but “cool” doesnt drive revenue or profit for your business–highly usable and functional software does.
In contrast to Windows-based (or rich) clients, thin clients are not installed on a local workstation but instead run from a Web server. This method of deployment allows for nearly ubiquitous access of the application. Any machine with the right version of the Web browser and an Internet connection can become an employees workstation.
Thin client configurations also have a lower administration cost. Since the software actually is not installed on the local workstations, all of the maintenance is performed on the Web or application servers.
Despite the hype around thin client configurations, it isnt always good to be thin.