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thin-client internet applications

Posted on 2011-02-21
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I need three examples of popular thin client application accessible through internet.  and what are is the future of thin-client.
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Question by:pixarksa
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There are several types of thin clients.
The term thin client can also refer to both hardware and software applications.

In software terms, web browsers and remote desktop applications (such as Microsoft Terminal Server client and Citrix clients)
In hardware terms, thin clients are the physical devices on which thin client software applications run.
They could be a cheap computer running a regular operating system, such as Windows or Linux, or even mobile phones.
However, there are also 'ultra-thin' clients, which don't have a full OS, but a kernel with just sufficient functionality to drive a display, connect to a network and display the content sent from a server. Examples include the Sun Microsystems stateless S270 thin client.

As far as actual apps that use thin-clients are concerned, there are many.
Google Maps in an excellent example, as is Google Street View. Just using a web browser, these apps provide functionality that previously would have require a traditional thick client.

Another example is http://www.phixr.com/photo/userindex, an online photo editor which requires no plugins (no Java, Flash etc)

Back to Google again for some more examples
Google Translate (http://translate.google.co.uk/#) provides online text translation - again, no functionality on the client PC, all the translation code being on Google's servers

Finally, apps like Google Docs (https://docs.google.com/#home) & Microsoft Office Live (http://workspace.officelive.com/en-GB/) provide Spreadsheet and Document editing functionality, all from a web browser based thin-client

Thin-Client computing has been around a long time (but not always called this). At school, I used a terminal which connected back to mainframe computer - the terminal didn't even have a screen - just a continuous role of paper which displayed what you entered and reported back the response from the mainframe.

With the rise of web based apps like the ones I described above, I think the concept has a good future, even if people don't actually refer to web browsers and the like as thin-clients. Mobile phones are also proviing an ideal thin-client. Even though the processing power of phones have increased considerably in the last few years, they still benefit from heavy duty processing being hived off to a remote server.
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