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What is a Thin Client Application

Ivy PedersenNovember 27, 2021,
What is a Thin Client Application

Thin client applications are where the user-side application only requires a minimal amount of processing power, footprint, and configuration. Thin client computers are perfect for businesses that want to save on expensive hardware. Unlike traditional, fat clients, which require lots of processing power and memory space from centralized servers, thin systems use external resources as needed by running applications remotely through the internet with minimal work done locally at all times. This makes it easier for companies without extensive IT staff but still need access to everything their employees do within an application.

Thin client applications are opposed to applications that require the end-user side to do some of the following:

  • Install an application-specific program, usually a big binary with dependent libraries and supporting files.
  • Install a database of sorts.
  • Include its logic to process some of the end-to-end functions of an application.

Non-thin client applications can have the data and features of their application served from a remote server, but some functionality is handled locally.

The term "non-thin client" is appropriate for describing applications that do not serve data remotely. This can include some features, but most of the application's capabilities are handled locally at your computer or device.

Thin clients are computers that offer little more than basic input and output. They don't need as much processing power because all of their functionality is handled by a server, but they rely on you to provide rich content for display purposes; thin-client terminals only show what's coming from your end-user!

In most cases, a web application is a thin-client application, even though it may not always be thought of as such. The browser does little more than this - user input/display functions (even when some require heavy JavaScript lifting). With Web 2.0 and its fast & reliable javascript-enabled browsers, HTML5 features like canvas, etc., the distinction between these two types will become blurred again! Overall, because of their heavy server support for these applications and ability to "just work" (no client-side installation required), web apps will be considered thin clients even when it comes with big scripts to support several features locally.

Many applications don't run in a web browser and yet qualify as a "thin client." For example, an online ordering application that allows users to search through their orders or look at what's available would be considered thin-client.

We hope you have a good understanding of what a thin client application is. If you are interested in learning more about similar topics, please visit our website.

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