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Webify a Windows-based Client/Server Desktop Application

Posted on 2007-10-11
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This question is related to a previos question at http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Theory/Software-Design/Q_22026185.html 

Here are the details of the appliction:
* Developed in VC++ (MFC) for the Desktop.
* Connects to Oracle
* will be migrated to VC++ .Net

It's a typical Windows-based Application with buttons, drop-down boxes, etc.

I'm trying to present one of the following as a solution for the application to make is acecssible via the Internet (using our Extranet Portal) :
* Webify it - host it on a web server instead of a desktop deployment  == how can this be achieved? What infrastructure is required to do so?

* create an HTML simulation of the application window -- how is this done?

I'm a web newbie, so please be specific.

Thanks.
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Question by:ramchi22
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jamcos earned 2000 total points
ID: 20058233
Hosting on a web server is done through Terminal Services / Remote Desktop. The two terms are the same technology, but licensing gets interesting. Every XP and up machine comes with the ability to allow 1 Remote Desktop connection. So, you can use Remote Desktop to shake everything out. To allow multiple client computers to connect at the same time, you need to move into Terminal Services licensing.

Here's an article on setting each one up:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/northrup_03may16.mspx
http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Windows_2003_Terminal_Services_Part1.html
And for pricing of Terminal Server CALs:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensing/pricing.mspx

Both are accessible either using the All Programs / Accessories / Communications / Remote Desktop Connection application or through a web browser. The result is that you see a desktop on the server machine. So, from there you can run whatever applications are available to that machine, based on the crededntials you logged on with. So, the upside of this approach is that you don't need to change the software at all.

I believe the author who discussed HTML Simulation is referring to rewriting the application using Web Forms instead of Windows Forms (in.Net). Generally when you have a rich client application that you need to redevelop for the Web, you take the opportunity to structure it like a web application. HTML simulation would mean (to me) a simpler recreation of the application just by taking each Windows Control and placing the Web equivalent on a Web page, ad hook up similar code behind the controls. It sounds much more straighforward than it generally is. First, the Windows and Web controls aren't an exact match. So, depending on how simple / complex the Windows application is, that will affect how creative you need to be in providing similar fuctionality on the Web. Second, a Windows application is generally not built for multiple users at the same time. The Web is always available to multiple users. So, generally, it's important to redevelop the application to understand separation of the users by session when going to the web.  
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