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Inside the Crystal Ball: Industry Analyst Predict The Comeback of Rich Clients and the Coming of Richer/Better Browsers
posted by Gerald Bauer on November 19, 2002

Richer Browsers or Rich Clients avoid excessive server roundtrips, allow offline and nomadic use, and offer a rich UI a la Word or Lookout using

With the rise of XML web services, rich XML UI markups a la XUL and built-in, secure, auto-installation using XML startup scripts over HTTP a la Web Start the difference between Rich Clients and Richer Browsers will blur.

Selected quotes from the Gartner and InfoWorld analyst reports sprinkled with plugs for their ad-paying clients' ware:

The Triumph of High-Fidelity ("Smart") Clients. By 2005, as much as 60 percent of new .Nyet applications will be designed with high-fidelity client deployment in mind (0.7 probability).

Translation: 2005: 60 % Windows Forms Rich Clients; 40 % Web Forms Thin Clients

Bottom Line. Enterprises should prepare for a resurgence in client-side application deployment, which will, this time around, result in more of a hybrid approach that shares code between clients and middle-tier application servers. This will mean more-capable desktop hardware requirements, but without the increase in TCO [Total Cost of Ownership] typically seen in this deployment model.

Translation: XUL + Web Start + Web Services is the future

Read the full Gartner report by D. Smith entitled "The Return of Client/Server - or, at Least, Rich Clients" online at

Emerging distributed servies-oriented computing models further call for faster, smarter workflow than is attainable via browser-based DHTML and Javascript.

Translation: Web Services call for rich UIs a la XUL and SVG

The one commonality among all vendors, however, is the mission to create a smart-presentation layer and rely on localized processing to streamline interaction.

Many of the capabilities from today's innovator may ultimately take root directly within next-generation Web browsers, or the may be embedded natively within operating systems and application servers.

Translation: Only open standards such as XUL, SVG and XHTML will get wide distribution; the Internet is for everyone; XML UI markup will relegate single-vendor runtimes to device driver status.

Rich Internet application vendors will enable developers to bring to market more useful applications in less time.

Translation: XML UI markup makes building rich Internet apps as easy as building Web pages.

Read the full InfoWorld report by James R. Borck entitled "Building a better browser" online at

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