Web based desktop

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quick explanaton of the role of web based applications versus thin client

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Web based desktop

  1. 1. Web based desktops
  2. 2. Why? <ul><li>Idea is to provide access to applications from anywhere from any platform </li></ul><ul><li>… all you need is a browser </li></ul>
  3. 3. Web vs thin client <ul><li>Thin client - run lightweight client and execute complex application on server </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All processing is remote - performance over slow links unpredictable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web - execute application locally and write back data to server </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More predictable performance, feels local because it is </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Thin client drawbacks <ul><li>Licensing expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Need to get client software onto users machines </li></ul><ul><li>Need a lot of backend infrastructure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But you can run almost any application you can think of </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Web drawbacks <ul><li>Infrastructure requirements and scalability not clear </li></ul><ul><li>Applications are lightweight </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feature light environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But how many features do you really need? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. AJAX <ul><li>Key technology is ajax - asynchronous java application execution - ie the app doesn’t have to constantly keep writing data back but instead dumps back reasonably large buffers worth at a time. </li></ul>
  7. 7. History <ul><li>Been here before: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Desktop.com, dotcom boom startup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Download and install java apps locally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Execute applications from web browser, save data remotely </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disappeared in the tech wreck in 2002 … </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Why local download <ul><li>Local download to ensure close responsiveness to keyboard ideal for word processors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reason why word processors on time sharing systems not great (processing the letter ‘a’ problem) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Why asynchronous <ul><li>Normal apps have to do a lot of writing back all the time - slows down execution and makes it difficult to do complex formatting applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reason why htmlarea and Xinha only provide basic texteditor capability </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Google <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Spreadsheet </li></ul><ul><li>Wordprocessor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Never going to kill ms office but provides basic functionality </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Writely - google’s word processor <ul><li>Optimised to be an editor for blog posts </li></ul><ul><li>Native file format is html </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration in the box </li></ul><ul><li>what does it look like? </li></ul>
  12. 15. But there is an alternative <ul><li>Zoho office suite </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More office like in functionality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuller featured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better export </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes collaboration </li></ul></ul>
  13. 18. So why do we care? <ul><li>Might be the future way of providing student access to basic office functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Might mean we can ditch pc’s and macs from IC labs </li></ul><ul><li>Might be really significant </li></ul>

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