Rich client vs. Web client

Adam Bosworth discusses that web interfaces are generally preferable to rich client interfaces. Adam’s blog entry links to some other bloggers who are commenting on the same issue.

Many programmers are working on internal business applications. Many of these business applications have to provide real-time access to information necessary for data entry. Many of these apps are using technologies such as COM+ events to monitor business activity and raise alerts to people who are using the system. Many of these apps have business “dashboards” that give the user many different views of their data with just a few clicks of the mouse.

With current browser technology, many of these features, which users demand, are not as responsive as a rich client. Some things are not even possible with current browser limitations.

My opinions are based on the current state of browser technology. I am always open to new stuff. If somebody creates a web interface that meets the most important needs, I’ll consider it.

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  1. #1 by Susan Wohl on September 30, 2003 - 6:50 pm

    Came across http://www.convea.com and http://www.oddpost.com and both are fantastic examples of rich client web apps. Check out the demos to see whats possible in a browser.

  2. #2 by hurcane on September 30, 2003 - 10:33 pm

    Susan,

    These are both great products for web applications. But they still can’t do what our customers demand. Do these programs support floating and dockable toolbars? Do these support forms that regenerate their appearance without delay as the user enters data? Can you drag a customer field on the web form to another place on the web form and have it automatically launch customer maintenance for that customer?

    Even when web applications can do this, they often do it more slowly.

    There are applications where web interfaces work well. We use a web interface for our company Wiki. I use a web interface for this weblog. They’re not ideal for every application. Could you imagine using Adobe Illustrator with a web interface?

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