Phillip Storry muses that with IE7 out, Firefox 2.0 almost released, and many other variables, the promise of browser-based applications is getting as complicated as rich clients....

And that is the point for web applications - any update to the browsers yur application is designed for must be tested, yet ironically you don't actually get to test it until AFTER the update arrives.

And this is an improvement over fat clients?

I seem to recall that my fat clients were usually tested on a test network, piloted on a group of test PCs, and then finally deployed widescale once we were s atisfied that there were no problems and the benefits of the new version were cost-effective. Yes, that was expensive. But if something broke, it most likely broke during testing or piloting, and didn't affect the organisation.

I also seem to recall that I had control over it. My testing and piloting was done alongside an already deployed fat client, which was already working.

This new Web 2.0 method can't do that. New browsers appear and disappear with each update from the browser manufacturers. They break your apps, unbreak your apps, and it's just chaos.
I think I'm reasonably plugged-in, yet I have to say that MS's release of IE7 last week caught me by surprise.  My day-to-day use of browsers varies between IE6/Windows, Firefox 1.5/Windows, and Firefox 1.x/Mac.  I see differences amongst these all the time, in simple and complex things.  Within my organization, certain apps are built for IE6 only, a certain JVM only, etc.  So, Phillip concludes,
Like all high-noise, low-signal fads, Web 2.0 is promulgated primarily by developers. And I mean no offense to developers, but I can't help notice that you guys almost never have to MAINTAIN what you leave behind. Someone else is always left with the shovel, trying to grow the promised roses.

So, the web browser thin-client turns out to need a whole set of shovels that traditional fat clients didn't. Personally, I think they're at least even - browser clients have their own unique set of problems, as do fat clients. The work's still there, just in a different place. There is no panacea of very-low-maintenance clients that never require updates, never break and never need support.
Link: Philip Storry: Web applications are cheaper and easier? Pfft. (DWA and IE7) >

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