Empty client

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The Empty Client (sometimes called also Clever Client) is a new client-server approach for Ajax applications. The Empty Client emerged as an alternative to traditional Ajax structures and it offers a new balance between the Thin and Thick (also referred to as Fat or Smart) client approaches and a new channeling of the Ajax calls.


The Empty Client Architecture

The Empty Client approach extends server side power via an optimized protocol that transfers the data between the server and the client. The Empty Client uses asynchronous refreshes, and a JavaScript-based engine to communicate with the server. But instead of communicating at the component level in a scattered way, it communicates the incremental updates, asynchronously through one central pipeline which it creates. The Empty Client essentially, relies on Ajax except that all the plumbing is done under the hood which means that rather than opening numerous routes to the server as in traditional Ajax approaches, it channels all communication through its centrally controlled pipeline.

The Empty Client Behavior

The name Empty Client comes from the fact that the approach doesn’t use logic or data on the client. As a result, it doesn’t expose data or logic, nor does it open web services as Ajax does on the client. It is also referred to sometimes as Clever Client because the client renders processes and integrates the user interface as a traditional web application does. Applications based on the Empty Client approach are essentially client side web application that usually run as Thick or Fat client with a Thin client footprint. A main difference between the Empty Client and the Thin client is the requirement for plug-ins on the client (or the use of bitmaps). Therefore, the Empty Client" can be optimal for data centric applications with the demand for higher security[1].

How does the Empty Client approach work?

The "Empty Client" approach allows the application to be both developed and run on the server, and its user interface is projected on the client. An algorithm is charged with the task of transferring user interactions and application responses back to the client. While other frameworks utilize Ajax to enhance scattered parts of the applications (like individual controls), the Empty Client approach seeks Ajax to accomplish one specific need: acting as its main pipeline to the server. This leads to an improved native security performance regardless of the size or the amount of data that the application consumes. In addition there is no need to code Ajax. All one has on the client is a small JavaScript kernel that is responsible for drawing on the browser and receive the user interaction. With this approach, security hazards are completely removed as there is "nothing" on the client to hack into or manipulate to get access into the server[2].


See Also

Fat client
Thin client
Hybrid client
Smart client
Visual WebGui
Ajax Programming

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