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SmartClient?

Posted on 2006-11-08
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Last Modified: 2008-02-07
Hello,

I am hoping an expert can point me in the right direction. I am very new to .net...having said that....we need to develop a portal that launches applications on client machines (client/server apps).

Can anyone explain to me how SmartClients work within the .net framework and applications where this technology can be used? We have a web portal that must call client applications (desktop). The portal will need to execute applications on the client machine (and make sure the installation is current and update it if necessary).

I've seen examples where a client app calls a web app and the web app updates the client (smartclient) but in this case we need the web to initiate the call to the client (when the user accesses a button on the portal to load an application on the client) and then verify the installation and open the application on the client.

Would really appreciate any help with this.
 
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Question by:surfsista9
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Kinger247
ID: 17898955
You can get a overview and detailed view from : http://msdn.microsoft.com/smartclient/community/scfaq/default.aspx
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Kinger247
ID: 17898963
Sounds like you need smarclients with webservices.
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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17899788
Can you elaborate on how the architecture would work?
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Expert Comment

by:Kinger247
ID: 17899913
You won't be able to get the webservice to call your client. But you can get the client to poll the server every so often and download instructions for the client to perform.
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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17900001
Can the client do this by accessing the portal and selecting an application to run/update? Can the portal or web page then run the app checker on the client and execute it?

Is this possible?
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Kinger247
ID: 17900122
The client would :
1. Connect to the webservice, check what needs to be done.
2. Download the instructions from the webservice for the client to perform.
3. Get the client to perform the tasks (such as checking versions of other apps or running them).
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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17900381
Do we really need a webservice? The users will be clicking buttons on the portal that correspond to the application they want to check/launch from their pc.
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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17900396
Also, the download instructions...checking versioning ...running the app.... is this using ActiveX or something like it? What is the actual technology behind this?

thanks for your help!
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Kinger247
ID: 17900477
Ok, what exactly are you trying to do... it seems what I thought you where trying to accomplish is somewhat different now.
You'll never get the web service to call your application. It has to be the other way around.

If you selecting something on a web page ??  To run an application, that different entirely.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:sandip132
ID: 17903387
Let me make SmarClient more easy for you. Say you have WebService WS1 and  different client applications CA1,CA2,CA3.... These applications can call WS1, get data from server, processes it and post back to server. Note that this is not like making a request from "WebPage" and accessing data from server. you have a client application in smart client...e.g. a windows application. Hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17904039
Are you saying SmartClient's use webservices? This is what I am asking someone to explain. What is the technology behind it? How does it work? I am looking for something to replace activeX...in effect.

What I'm reading does not exactly match what you are saying and I guess I need to just research this to see if there is some other way to utilize for my needs.

I'm not convinced yet because I haven't gotten an answer on exactly what it is. I will research.
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

by:
sandip132 earned 500 total points
ID: 17904211
I will suggest to have a look here:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/smartclient/community/scfaq/default.aspx

Smart client isn't a technology, and it isn't any specific architecture. It is a style of application that combines the best of both Windows applications and web applications. What are best aspects of each of these worlds?

Windows applications have going for them that they are able to provide rich user experience, they're not complex to develop, are they can use local resources. Using local resources allows Windows applications to be responsive, interact with connected devices, and other things that web applications just can't do.

On the other hand, some good things about make web applications are they're easy to deploy and manage, since you deploy them to a server not to the client computer, and they have a very broad reach - even PDAs and cell phones can use them.

Here are the four characteristics of a Smart Client application:

It uses local resources and provides a rich user experience;

It's a connected application that exchanges data on the Internet or an enterprise network;

Even though it's a connected application, it is offline capable so that it can be used whether or not it is currently connected; and

It has an intelligent deployment and update story, maintaining relatively the same ease of deployment and management as web applications.

Intelligent deployment generally involves deploying an application to server, and having that deploy onto the local client system. Intelligent update means the application on the client system is able to receive updates that are deployed to the server. The Updater Application Block provides an example of intelligent update for .NET applications today, and ClickOnce will set a new mark for intelligent deployment and update for .NET Framework 2.0 applications.

Smart client is a pretty broad concept, and as a result it means different things to different people. And it has evolved and been refined, so it's meant slightly different things at different times. So when something says it is a smart client, or plays a role in smart client, ask yourself if that rings true to this definition, if that's what smart client should mean to you.

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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17904226
From what I have read here...I need both activex to shell to the application on the client machine and smart client for client updates.

I'm trying to get away from activex due to security issues.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Kinger247
ID: 17907346
Thats the same link I sent earlier ...
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Author Comment

by:surfsista9
ID: 17907745
yes but I didn't  read the link and the explanation that was given by sandip was clear. Actually read other documentation.
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