Client Conundrum

Back in olden times when MFC roamed free, and VB6 ruled the roost, fat client was it. Then came thin client and the dash for browser based apps, and its more attractive sibling platform independence.

A few of us warned MS that this was a bad move, they did nothing. A few of us moaned about this lowest common denominator approach and the decreased user experience compared to smarter/fatter clients. MS tried to call Office its smart client,  this fizzled out, quickly.

Eventually we were all browsered up and windows apps were career limiting comedy, and Silverlight (A fake weak impersonation of Windows that only worked in browsers on Windows) was created. A few of us guffawed, lots. Those handful of companies that committed to SilverShight are still clearing up the mess its oh-so-bleedin-obvious retirement caused. Some poor goofs in Zürich are constantly looking for their white knight (but probably not dressed in silvershite armour).

Then the iPhone happened, and suddenly sleek, powerful, integrated, native apps were back in fashion. Big time.

So my conundrum is this: will iOS/Android client/native apps all migrate to the phone browser? or not?

What do you think and why?

Personally, I think browsers are ok for surfing the interwebs, crap and/or pointless for everything else. Ok for content consumption, crap for creation. However I have always thought that and it didn’t stop the revolution last time… I think probably not in iOS as Apple will maintain control of many key apis to be native for ecosystem reasons. Dunno about Android, they may go the web route.

What do you reckon?



10 Responses to “Client Conundrum”

  1. Jon Nyman Says:

    And the Magic 8-Ball says…

    Looking it up.

  2. Simon Says:

    ?? LMGTFY? I’ll assume you agree with me then…

    • Jon Nyman Says:

      Yeah, I was just trying to say that that is a hard question. Who knows what is going to happen in the future, especially with computer programming – things change so quickly.

      I’m trying for JavaScript just because of its ubiquity. But really could you go wrong if you pick something off the top 20 list? Maybe but at least you would have time to pivot if things change – hopefully.

      F# is touted as a language financial institutions like. Not sure if that is them blowing their own horn though. But I like the language.

      I’ve only had one consulting job so I don’t know how much my opinion should be weighted.

  3. Biggus Dickus Says:

    “Personally, I think browsers are ok for surfing the interwebs, crap and/or pointless for everything else. Ok for content consumption, crap for creation. ”

    Totally agree … BUT actually I also see the “Interweb” as an awesome NETWORK, where Client Server is just a natural technology.

    Unfortunately for MS they think that CS is so 90’s and just not cool anymore. They are so driven by wanting to be “cool” that they are willing to throw away their “trump card” (namely Windows on computers EVERYWHERE) just to try to be cool like Google. CS databases across the Internet are a natural and something that companies like Oracle are quietly taking advantage of…

    Apple has a big commitment to phones of course but they still offer a strong fleet of desktops and laptops running IOS that share resources between servers and the local machine It’s pretty much seamless and works just great IMHO

    But instead MS is running as fast as they can away from their strong suit … Wow .. makes my head spin.


  4. methodsinexcel Says:

    Thick client, data over the wire, its the only model that makes sense.

    “Excel” in the browser is pants, 5 years from its invention.

    VS in not in the could – I couldn’t even start a new project!!!

    I think typical Form over data stuff should be OK, but why bother??? the concept of deploying stuff across platform is vastly over rated, really what work get done, not on windows? less than1% I bet.

    It’s like office on your phone… who cares!!!

    Peace out

  5. fastexcel Says:

    One of the arguments for fat client used to be lack of connection bandwidth (remember when people were saying that anything faster than 9.6K Baud was theoretically impossible (because of the Nyquist limit or some such thing))

    But that does not seem to be a problem any more (unless you live in bandwidth-deprived rural parts).

    So now its a question of economics: and whilst the cost of your fat client hardware continues to fall your fat client MS software bill continues to rise to unsustainable levels. Add in the maintenance and deployment costs and its easy to see why the cloud is attractive and Ballmer needs to change the strategy.

    But I still don’t like the idea of all my stuff sitting in some mega-hyper-data-centre waiting for a clever terrorist or a mistaken sofware update to erase it all.

    So maybe spiral theory predicts that the next round will see bandwidth speed increase and costs fall far enough that instead of having a few mega data-centres running the cloud it just becomes distributed to your and my fat client at home.

  6. Jon Nyman Says:


    You talking about BitTorrent Sync? Love the software.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: