Move it to the server! No – to the client!

The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing some thinking on the dichotomy between server and client execution. It seems to me that WinForms developers in general increasingly are doing a larger effort to move the functionality to the server – where they used to love their big, fat clients:-); and on the other side, web developers are moving more and more functionality to the client.

I think both developer types – WinForms and Web – have some technical legacy reflected in their products. For WinForms developers there really haven’t ever been a good client-server communication framework until recently. They’ve had to work with stuff like remoting with server objects used from the client – kind’a definitely not state-less, nor lousely coupled – but with a great potential of being a maintenance hell:-) Such technical barriers have made it natural to keep functionality on the client – it was more productive.

On the other hand, the web guys have been extremely server focused – probably as a result of lack of client side tools. Stuff like JQuery and AJAX Frameworks makes this easier – and as a result web developers are taking a more thorough look into client side development.

It’s interessting to watch how e.g. asp.net 2.0 webservices, wcf, AJAX, JavaScript libraries, WPF/SilverLight – and ClickOnce deployment – supports new server-client architecture. It’s also interessting that the technology seems to be supporting how developers and product managers think about software design. Not to mention wpf/xaml and outside browser functionalities which seem to be a direct “melting together” the two traditions.

Marx would say that it’s how we produce stuff in a given period that determines how we think – perhaps this also applies to software development?

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